The rising cost of childcare has isolated children and pushed parents out of work amid the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, campaigners have warned.
Nursery prices have hit an all-time high and a shortage of places has forced parents to choose between their careers and childcare, according to Coram Family and Childcare, a charity.
Parents now pay 2.5pc more for care for children under two, 2pc more for children aged two and 3.5pc more for three- to four-year-olds, according to a survey of 177 local authorities by the charity.
A part-time nursery place for a two-year-old now costs an average of £133.69 a week, rising to £138.70 for younger children. It is cheaper to pay for a childminder, which on average costs around £124 a week.
But whilst the price of childcare has risen, almost a third of local authorities reported a drop in care quality in the wake of the pandemic as nurseries have grappled with increased costs and staff shortages.
Of the local authorities surveyed, almost two-thirds reported childcare providers raising their prices and a third reported an increase in the number of children looked after by each staff member.