Where is the Most Expensive Place for Childcare in the UK?

Elizabeth Elden
27th March 2018, 4:00 PM
  • London tops the list as the most expensive place for childcare
  • North West of England is cheapest
  • £60 per week difference between cheapest and most expensive

The UK has a huge variation in the cost of childcare, depending on location. Image: Getty

Parents are paying 7% more for childcare. 2018 price hikes have climbed faster than wages and families are struggling. Latest Deals examines the most expensive areas in the UK for childcare.

Why is childcare so expensive?

Despite the Government pledging to help families with the roll out of new support schemes this year, 'technical difficulties' have delayed the financial help, making families feel the pinch.

There is also a confusing mix of seven different types of support systems in the country, which means that parents are at risk of missing out on the help they need.

Many parents are using the new tax free childcare scheme, but there is also a voucher system, and a 30 hours free childcare offer mixed in, and not all parents are on the right system for them.

Where is the cost of childcare most expensive?

Generally, regions in the South and East, childcare is much more expensive than in the North and West, excluding Scotland, where costs are statistically some of the highest.

The data came from the Family and Childcare Trust’s annual survey of local authorities.

London costs over £62 a week more than the North West, which adds up to £3,241.16 a year more expensive.

It’s also far above the average cost of childcare, which is £112.46 per week, at an average £148.13 per week for children under the age of four.

The South East of England is the second most expensive, at £113.41 a week on average, but this is still a huge difference from London, at almost £35 cheaper.

In third place is the East of England, where costs are just over £100 at £100.01 per week on average.

Compared to the three most expensive places, the three least expensive are much closer in cost.

The North West is cheapest at £85.80 a week, followed by Yorkshire and Humber at £88.35, and then the East Midlands at £89.92.

This does not include the extra childcare costs that many parents have to pay over the summer holidays and half terms.

There have also been difficulties with getting childcare, as just half of local authorities in England reported having enough childcare places for working parents to access the Government’s free 30 hours of childcare policy.

This means that parents will have to turn to other nurseries which they’ll have to pay for, costing them more.

Because of this, some parents are worse off in work once they have paid for their child care, particularly larger families or families with young children.

The rankings are:

  1. London- £148.13
  2. South East England- £113.41
  3. East of England- £100.01
  4. North East England - £99.75
  5. Scotland- £99.69
  6. Wales- £96.62
  7. South West England- £95.52
  8. West Midlands- £90.52
  9. East Midlands- £89.92
  10. Yorkshire and Humber- £88.35
  11. North West England- £85.80

Ellen Broome, Chief Executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, said, “Childcare is as vital as the rails and roads, it supports parents to work, boosts children’s outcomes, and provides our economy with a reliable workforce.

“Too many parents remain locked out of work by high childcare costs, especially in the capital, where there is also low availability.”

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