Childcare providers struggling with soaring costs forced to take drastic action

In a bid to battle funding pressures, childcare providers across Britain have had to raise prices and cut staff and opening hours.

A new survey published by charity Coram Family and Childcare (CFC), which included councils from England, Scotland and Wales, discovered 48% of the 131 councils approached say childcare services had to reduce staff members and 72% of local authorities have reported that over the last year, some local childcare providers have increased their costs.   

child in red and white striped shirt looking out the window

However, ministers are under pressure from opposition parties and a number of conservative MPs to prioritise the childcare system.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development the UK is among the most expensive countries for childcare in the world. Robin Walker, Chairman of the Commons Education Committee, said his party needed a ‘serious set of policies’ on the issue. 

CFC is warning of the knock-on impact on families, saying young children risk missing out on a crucial part of their education if parents cannot find suitable childcare. The average weekly cost of a full-time nursery place for a two-year-old in England was £265.38 in 2022.  

Megan Jarvie, Head of CHF, said: ‘Childcare and early education is a key part of our national infrastructure: it enables parents to work and boosts children’s outcomes, getting them ready to learn at school and beyond. 

‘Pressures on the childcare sector mean that more families are at risk of not being able to find the childcare that they rely on. We urge the government to make sure that childcare and children’s life chances are at the very heart of their plans to support families through the cost-of-living crisis.’ 

Over half of local authorities say that the sustainability of childcare providers has been negatively impacted by the rising cost of energy and 53% by the soaring costs of food. 

The charities full research will be published in March, but the organisation shared a fragment of their findings with the BBC.

Additionally, in Scotland more than 60% of respondents said they would have to reduce the heating in their settings and in some cases, resort to turning heating off in their family home outside working hours to help keep children warm in childcare environments.

Photo by Kelli McClintock


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