1. ITV Report

Some families ‘paying more on childcare than rent’

Some families pay more on childcare than they do on rent or a mortgage, it has been claimed. Credit: UTV

Rising childcare costs are forcing some parents to dip into savings, and use payday loans and credit cards to cover their bills.

It has been suggested that a third of families in Northern Ireland are now paying more on childcare than they do on their mortgage or rent.

Little Hannah loves nursury - it's even better when mum Catherine can join in at playtime.

But it's a big cost, Hannah's older brother is at pre-school and in total their parents pay out £1,400 every month for their care.

“In Belfast, those prices would be what everyone has to pay so that would be the average price,” working parent Catherine Black said.

“I come from the country originally - people would be aghast at that money, but unfortunately that’s the price you have to pay if you’re in Belfast and choose to use childcare.”

Credit: UTV

According to Employers for Childcare, it's estimated a full-time childcare place in Northern Ireland now costs on average £168 per week.

That's the equivalent of almost 40% of the standard household income.

For 30% of families surveyed, their childcare bill is bigger than their mortgage or rent.

And there has been a big jump in the last year in the number of parents using savings, credit cards and payday loans to cover childcare costs - up from 25% to 33%.

Credit: UTV

For many of those surveyed, paying for childcare is their single biggest worry.

Aoife Hamilton from Employers for Childcare said: “We know this is impacting on the wellbeing of families so the cost is there but actually this is stress and anxiety that families are experiencing.”

Two years ago a draft childcare strategy was consulted on, but with no Stormont government there's been little progress.

Campaigners say they will keep fighting to make sure rising childcare costs aren't a barrier for those parents who want to work.