Sky high London childcare costs are a third more than national average

About the Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust aims to make the UK a better place for families. They are a leading national family charity in the field of policy, research and advocacy on childcare and family issues, with over 40 years’ experience. Their on-the-ground work with parents and providers informs their research and campaigns. They focus on the early years and childcare because they are crucial to boosting children’s outcomes throughout life and supporting parents to work.

We wanted to share with you their latest findings on the childcare costs in London.

Inner London parents now pay an back-breaking average of £154 per week for a part time nursery place – or over £8,000 every year – almost triple what British families spend on food and drink in a year, according to new research by the Family and Childcare Trust.

In its 16th annual Childcare Survey, the charity reveals that although there is some reprieve for families as British nursery prices held steady and childminder prices rose just above inflation at 1.9 per cent, this will be scarce relief for families who can be spending up to 45 per cent of their disposable income on average childcare costs.

While the average price for part time nursery place in Britain is £116, parents in Inner London pay the highest price for childcare in Britain – £154 per week – or a third more than the national average. This means Inner London parents pay for five weeks of childcare each month compared to rest of Britain. Parents in Outer London pay the second highest price for child care – £142 per week.

Parents claiming benefits moving into minimum wage jobs can take home as little as £1.96 an hour after paying for childcare. And some families will spend all of one parent’s earnings on childcare meaning that working does not make them better off.

Costs also aren’t the only problem: many parents will not be able to find the childcare they need. Less than half of London boroughs have enough childcare for parents working full time. And the gaps are even bigger for parents who do not work typical office hours – no areas in Inner London and only 11 per cent of areas in Outer London have enough care for this group of parent.

Families with disabled children are also likely to struggle. Only 5 per cent of areas in Outer London and 9 per cent of areas in Inner London have enough childcare for them.

Ellen Broomé, deputy chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust said:

“It is a disgrace that so many parents are effectively shut out of the workplace by crippling childcare costs. Recent Governments have rightfully invested in childcare, but too many parents are still struggling to find and pay for childcare that they and their children need.

“Childcare is as vital as the rails and roads for helping London to run: it boosts children’s outcomes throughout life and helps parents work. We need a strategy to make sure that every parent is better off working after they have paid for childcare.

“The Government must closely monitor the roll out of the 30 hour offer and tax free childcare to make sure that all children can access high quality childcare and all parents can make real choices about how they work and care for their children.”


As well as a childcare strategy that meets children and parents’ needs, the Family and Childcare Trust is calling on the Government to:

  • Make sure that every parent will be better off working after childcare costs
  • Review funding for free childcare entitlements every year based on evidence of the costs of providing high quality provision
  • Improve access to childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities
  • Improve information for parents about local childcare provision, including up to date prices and availability