Findings launched from 10th Annual Childcare Survey
Since the survey was first launched in 2010, Northern Ireland remains without a childcare strategy and meanwhile childcare costs have increased faster than wages and childcare costs for providers continue to rise.
Employers for Childcare along with the Childcare for All campaign have consistently called for a childcare system that is affordable, accessible, flexible, high quality and supports children’s education and development.
What are the key findings from the survey?
- The average cost of a full-time childcare place is now £166 per week or £8632 per year, an increase of 11% since 2010.
- 50% of families report spending more than 20% of their income on childcare. This rises to 63% for lone parent households.
- 41% of families reported to using means other than their income to pay for their childcare bill including savings, overdraft, loans and credit cards.
- For some households there is an increase in childcare costs during summer holidays with the average cost of a week at a holiday summer scheme increasing by 56% since 2010.
- Almost half of parents have experienced a change in their working hours. One in five mothers decreased their hours of work or left work altogether, compared with 6% of fathers.
- 73% of childcare providers reported an increase in expenditure and 32% of providers anticipate that their economic situation will get worse in the next 12 months.
- Over half of parents think that there is a lack of sufficient childcare in their area however, 87% of presents think the quality of childcare provision in NI is good or very good.
These findings show that the childcare system in NI, whilst providing a high standard of childcare, is under immense pressure financially. This pressure is also felt by parents who are struggling to afford the childcare that they need. The current political instability and changes to benefits compound these difficulties for families and providers. Employers for Childcare have highlighted that the childcare system requires ‘fundamental change and urgent reform’.
The key ask is: For the Government to invest in the childcare infrastructure by developing a costed Childcare Strategy with a legal framework, that is informed by learning from other jurisdictions.
For more information about the report, please get in touch with [email protected].