Elizabeth Truss

The coalition has stabilised childcare costs – so why do headlines suggest they’re rising?

You may have heard about the Family and Childcare Trust’s survey today, about the costs of childcare.

You wouldn’t know it from the headlines but it actually found that in England, costs have fallen for the first time since the survey started 12 years ago. The figures in the report show that, after inflation, the cost of nurseries fell by two per cent, the cost of after-school clubs fell by five per cent, and the cost of a child-minder’s after-school pickup fell by a full 13 per cent.

There is now mounting evidence that childcare costs have at last stabilised after more than a decade of rising prices. The health management consultancy, Laing & Buisson, say that fees for full day-care in nurseries have frozen for two successive years. The National Day Nurseries Association found that the majority (58 per cent) of nurseries froze their fees in 2013. And the Department for Education’s own survey of parents, published last month, found the cost of day nurseries and childminders fell, while the use of childcare by the poorest parents rose by 16 per cent.

So why do the headlines imply costs are rising?

Because Labour in Wales and the SNP in Scotland have failed hardworking families. In Scotland, the average costs of nurseries went up by eight per cent. In Wales, costs went up by 13 per cent. But in England, costs flatlined in cash terms, falling by 2 per cent after inflation.

In England, where the Coalition is responsible for childcare, our long-term plan to fix the economy to help families meet their obligations and provide them with financial security is working.

We are helping to make the system much more efficient so we get the most from the money that hardworking parents spend.

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