Prices for holiday childcare could triple this summer as parents called back to work

Linda J. Dodson

She added that most of the people in this situation contacting the charity for help were mothers. Women typically earn less than men, meaning that it often makes more financial sense for a mother to quit work to care for children than a father. 

The cost of 48 weeks of care for a child under the age of two is just over £12,000 a year. This is equivalent to 45pc of a woman’s average salary, compared with 36pc of the average man’s, according to the Women’s Budget Group, a not-for-profit. 

Last year charity Save the Children reported that many parents were being forced into debt to cover the soaring costs of childcare during school holidays. This is a particular problem for people on Universal Credit. They can claim back up to 85pc of their childcare costs, however these must be paid upfront and often reimbursements take a month to arrive. 

In the 2019 general election, the Conservatives promised £250m a year for “wraparound” childcare to help parents outside of school time. The fund was designed to support holiday, breakfast and after-school clubs.

A Government spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic we have worked with the sector to make sure childcare for working parents remained available, and have published guidance to allow holiday clubs and other out-of-school settings to operate as safely as possible as they reopened from the beginning of the month.”

She added that its holiday activities and food programme, as well as a summer catch-up programme from the National Citizen Service, would run over the summer and that schools were able to use the £1bn of coronavirus catch-up funding to run summer camps if they wished.   

“We have provided significant financial support to early years providers over the past months, giving them the security they need to stay open to children who need childcare places. We have also confirmed funding for childcare will continue at the level we would have funded before coronavirus until the end of the year, regardless of whether fewer children are attending.”

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