Part-time childcare costs for a family of two children have overtaken the average UK mortgage bill by 4.7 per cent, according to new research.
The report by the Family and Childcare Trust shows that in Wales, where average mortgage costs are £5,252 per year, part-time childcare costs are 36 per cent higher at £7,139 per year. Full-time childcare would cost £10,760 which is 105 per cent more than the average mortgage in Wales.
Parents in Wales also face the worst gaps in provision, an issue that has not improved over the last five years. Only 11 per cent of local authorities had enough childcare for 5-11 year olds, compared with 35 per cent in England. No local authority had enough childcare in rural areas.
The Family and Childcare Trust believes governments should:
• Extend free early education to all two year olds.
• Make better use of school premises to provide flexible childcare provision.
• Uprate Working Tax Credits to account for rising childcare costs.
• Effectively enforce the duty on local authorities to provide sufficient childcare.
Opposition leader Andrew RT Davies will use his conference speech in Swansea to announce that he's setting up a commission to look at ways of providing what he calls 'proper, affordable childcare.' He's appointed Shadow Education Minister Angela Burns to head the commission. He'll tell delegates:
I want parents across Wales to look at the Welsh Conservatives and see a party that “gets it” and is doing something about it.
I want young people across Wales to look at the Welsh Conservatives as a party leading the way for aspiration.
So today, I’m pleased to announce that my Shadow Minister for Education, Angela Burns has set up a Commission to look at how we can provide proper, affordable childcare.
Following on from some of the great work already undertaken by the UK Government in this field, Angela will work with professionals from representational organisations and business to see how we can help parents across Wales to be as aspirational for themselves as they are for their children.
Engagement in real policy development is the only way we can sell ourselves as the party that ‘gets it.'
For many families, one of the larger monthly costs is child care. And now one nursery owner from Cardiff is calling for a change in regulations to make the care more affordable. But would fewer regulations also mean lower standards? Nicola Hendy reports
A Barry nursery owner is calling for childcare staffing regulations to be relaxed.
Abeer Bafiqih runs the Daisy Day Nursery in Barry and Cardiff looking after children up five years old. She believes regulations around staffing levels could be relaxed.
She said: "We face the same costs as all other business such as rates; our salaries are probably higher because we are so labour intensive, because of the legislation around ratios.
"If we had maybe more children per adult maybe in the older age ranges, that would lower our salaries costs and that in turn would impact on the fees we charge."
Strict guidelines govern the way a childcare business is run and the number of staff needed. For children under 2 there has to be 1 adult to 3 children, youngsters between 2 and 3 need 1 adult to 4 children and children aged 3 to 8 need one adult to every 8 children.
The Children's Commission is currently looking at relaxing the restrictions on the ratio of staff to children in England, but the Welsh Government say they have no plans for change.
Gill Rutter, of the Daycare Trust said: "We think that changing the ratios risks compromising safety. It also may not save parents any money in the long term. Why should nurseries, why should child minders pass on those savings to parents if they change the ratios."