Childcare costs have risen by a third

The cost of part-time nursery places for young children has risen by a third under this Government to more than £6,000 a year, according to a new study.

As Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg prepared to announce 15 hours of free early education a week for some working parents, the Family and Childcare Trust called for action to address the “growing gaps in provision” and warned that for many poor families “it simply does not pay to work”.

The charity’s research found that parents were paying £1,533 a year more for part-time nursery places for children under two than they did in 2010, pushing the cost above £6,000 for the first time. The national average is now at £115 a week.

The report adds the lack of childcare was “getting worse, not better”, calls for an independent review of childcare and says parents should have the same legal right to early education as they do for a school place.

Mr Clegg will on Thursday pledge to give working parents of children between nine months and two years 15 hours of free early education a week, saving them £2,670 a year.

A Department for Education spokesperson said funding for childcare had risen from £2bn a year to around £3bn. “We understand that the cost of childcare can be an issue for many parents, but this report only relates to the prices parents pay after they receive the Government’s offer of 15 hours of free childcare.”

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