NI parents struggle to pay for childcare

Published Wednesday, 04 December 2013
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Most parents in Northern Ireland struggled to pay for childcare at some point last year, a survey has found.

A total of 4,396 parents responded to The Northern Ireland Childcare Cost Survey 2013.

It found that 63% working parents struggled at some point last year, 78% of single parents found themselves under financial pressure, while 62% of two-parent families had difficulties.

Respondents reported that on average, 44% of their net weekly earnings are allocated to childcare costs.

For families with two children in full-time childcare the annual overall cost can amount to £16,432 on average.

The cost of a full-time place for a child has increased to £158 per week.

While the majority of parents stated their formal childcare service was not flexible, 97% said they were happy with the quality of care provided.

Most parents also reported using additional forms of childcare on top of their main provider, with 45.4% of this care being provided by grandparents.

Parents resorted to using grandparents to keep costs down but also because of lack of flexibility from formal providers.

The main findings this year, that are different and weren't actually noted before by parents is they're having to use credit cards before the end of the month just to get by.

Marie Marin, Employers for Childcare

Katy Fulton and her husband both work and their biggest monthly outgoing is spent on childcare.

"A substantial part of my salary each month, goes towards childcare. It's a cost that before we had the children was going towards holidays, was going towards luxuries which just aren't there anymore and there are months where you're borrowing from Peter to pay Paul to make sure everything is balanced," she said.

She relies on her parents to help out, but she admits that they are "stuck" paying out as they cannot afford to downsize or cut their working hours.

Almost half of the parents surveyed said they have reduced their working hours, or ever considered leaving work all together because of the cost of childcare.

Marie Marin, CEO of Employers for Childcare commented: "Domestic costs such as food and heating, which are essentials, are being sacrificed in order to pay for childcare."

Ms Marin said that parents should make sure they avail of support and make the most of working tax credits and childcare vouchers to help keep costs down.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Dave in Belfast wrote (131 days ago):
lucylou- Being a childminder is not an easy occupation. It barely counts as an occupation and is a total economic drain. It is also massively overpaid and this will end at some stage hopefully. If people can't afford to look after their kids that is nobody's fault but their own. Grow a set and take responsibility for your own decisions.
Belfast in Belfast wrote (133 days ago):
What alot of nonsense! Tax credits?? As if £15 tax credits is going to make a difference. I have 2 little girls. Baby food, nappies, rent, heat, clothes electric i could go on!! I pay £14 a week just so my little girl can have a dinner in nursery. Myself on maternity and hubby working and cant afford to even put bread in the cupboard. We live day by day!!
paddy in antrim wrote (133 days ago):
how can you expect to bring up children with these bills , its hard enough at the best of times without the added pressure and at the end the only ones suffering is the next that what is intended that you or your children are not supposed know or experience life without financial burden?
lucylou in belfast wrote (133 days ago):
Would you work a 40 hour week at £4 per hour BEFORE deductions for tax and national insurance plus the costs of insurance to cover children and other associated outgoings with the job?. That's what people forget about those who childmind in their homes, it's A JOB and they have all the same expenses of living just like the parents who employ them! Being self employed, they don't get 'sick pay' if off ill and if clients don't pay [which happens!] they have to forego the money or start court proceedings. Being a childminder is not an easy occupation , nor a lucrative one! Parents demand the best possible child care for the least payment possible. Depending on salary, a proportion [ up to 75% or so] is paid by the government. Anyone who thinks that having children won't have a negative impact on disposable income [wether paying childcare costs or not] is delusional!
Mark in Dublin wrote (133 days ago):
I moved to Dublin 2 years ago from London. I pay €1050 a month childcare for 1 child. In London i was paying £1100 a month.
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