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Children: Day Care

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average hourly cost of childcare in (a) London and (b) the rest of England was for different age groups of children in the latest period for which information is available. (256982)

The Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents collects information on parents’ use, views and experiences of child care and early years provision, including information on costs of child care. When reporting the costs of childcare, parents were asked to include payments made directly by the family and payments made by an external source, for example money paid by employers, the local authority, or an ex-partner. Therefore the costs recorded in the survey are not costs that parents actually pay for child care as they include help that is available through tax credits, childcare vouchers and the free entitlement for three and four-year-olds.

Table 1 shows the figures from the 2007 survey on the hourly costs of child care by region. Regional data on the hourly cost, by the age of the child are not available due to small sub-sample sizes at the regional level.

Table 1: Hourly cost of child care (including subsidies), by region

Mean hourly cost (£)

All children

2.58

North East

2.35

North West

2.05

Yorkshire and the Humber

1.95

East Midlands

1.96

West Midlands

2.48

East

2.51

London

3.50

South East

3.03

South West

2.27

Notes:

1. Based on all children paying for child care used in last week.

2. Figures include subsidies, eg money paid by employers, the local authority, or an ex-partner.

Table 2 shows the hourly costs of child care by the age of the child in 2007.

Table 2: Hourly cost of child care (including subsidies), by age of the child

Mean hourly cost (£)

All children

2.58

Age of child

0-2

3.23

3-4

2.13

5-7

2.50

8-11

2.50

12-14

2.31

Notes:

1. Based on all children paying for child care used in last week.

2. Figures include subsidies, eg money paid by employers, the local authority, or an ex-partner.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research his Department has undertaken on (a) charging for extended school activities, (b) the number of parents claiming child care tax credit for help with funding out of school activities, (c) the percentage change in the number of parents paying for out of school childcare in the last three years and (d) the percentage change in the number of parents claiming child care tax credit for help with out of school activities in each of the last three years. (257385)

The Department commissioned research from Ipsos MORI (“Extended Schools Survey of School, Pupils and Parents”, 2009). Schools were asked how they fund activities and child care (multiple choices were possible). The report found that:

“Around three-quarters (73%) of schools that provide childcare, or activities used as childcare, say that users pay for services, although around three in ten (32%) say that the school itself provides funding to enable this service to run. Activities are also most commonly funded by the school (58%), although this is also more likely in secondary schools (74%) and schools in deprived areas (70%). In around two in five cases, the users pay for the service (43%).”

The report also found that:

“Among schools that charge users for childcare and activities, the majority provide help for families who struggle to pay the full fee. Schools most commonly do this by charging a lower fee or waiving payment altogether (53%), or by signposting families to other sources of support such as the Working Tax Credit (49%).”

Of those eligible to benefit from the child care element of tax credits—available for working parents to help with the cost of Ofsted-registered child care or activity-based provision—take up has increased from 14 per cent. in 2004-05 to 17 per cent. in 2006-07. The latest Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) snapshot data shows that 19 per cent. of families were receiving the child care element in December 2008, which equates to about 460,000 families.

The Department does not collect data on point (c) of the question.

HMRC published data do not record what types of provision a family is using.