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Record childcare prices force parents to leave their jobs

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.

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