High childcare costs mean one in five parents are considering reducing hours or giving up work altogether

19 January 2015

National survey shows that the financial strain of childcare costs is having a significant impacting on parents.

4Children, the national charity, commissioned a national survey of 1,000 parents of children aged between 0-16 and found that of those parents paying for childcare, almost a fifth (18%) are considering reducing their hours at work or giving up their job altogether because of the financial strain.

While more than a quarter (28%) of the same parents will be cutting back on treats in order to meet high childcare costs, a worrying 16% admit they will have to cut back on essentials over the next 12 months.

With four months to go until the General Election, parents with young children (aged 0-4)in particular are in real need of support - with almost three quarters (73%) calling on political parties to offer them more help with the cost of childcare and 62% believing it should be an election priority.

4Children Chief Executive Anne Longfield OBE said:

“Childcare represents a huge financial challenge for most parents and our poll shows the real impact costs are having on family life – from giving up work to cutting back on essentials. Removing parents’ choice as to whether or not they continue to work after having children is not the answer for families or for the economy.

Parents of the youngest children are feeling the pressures most acutely and are calling on politicians to do more to help, particularly with the cost of childcare.

The family vote will be key at the ballot box in May and 4Children is throwing down the gauntlet to politicians to set out how they will ensure childcare meets the needs of modern family life.”

The national poll of 1,000 parents with children aged 0-16 living at home was carried out by Opinium online between 29 December 2014 and 2 January 2015.

4Children is piloting childcare hubs across the country in Northumberland, Cambridge, Gloucestershire, Devon, the London boroughs of Merton and Newham and three in York – Dragonfishers, Haxby Road and Ebor in Strensell. They bring together different kinds of childcare in the local area for babies and children up to the age of 11.

CIPP comment

The Government are introducing a new method of childcare support for working parents, Tax-Free Childcare (TFC), due to be available from autumn 2015. The provision of childcare nurseries is not impacted by TFC, however Childcare voucher schemes and directly contracted childcare schemes will be closed to new entrants. Parents who wish to open a tax free childcare account will receive a government top up, to a maximum of £2,000 per year (subject to contribution amounts made into the account).


At this time guidance for TFC has not been finalised, however draft guidance is available (published in October 2014).