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Childcare in the UK

How much does childcare cost?

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How much does childcare cost?

Childcare adds a significant amount to your monthly outgoings. Compare the cost of different types of childcare with our at-a-glance guide.

 

Childcare costs increased by 32.8% for under twos and 36.2% for over twos between 2010 and 2015. Nursery costs are rising much faster than the rate of inflation.

If you're returning to work, you'll need to think about the various factors affecting how much you can afford to pay for childcare. Taking on part-time hours will obviously affect your income - if the average cost of a part-time childminder is £104.46 a week, that's a £5,200 chunk out of your yearly salary - assuming a couple of weeks off for holiday periods. A nanny can cost up to £24,867 a year if you're living in London.

However, there is help with costs, in the form of childcare vouchers and benefits. Look at our guide to childcare vouchers to see what deductions you could shave off these total costs.

The table below provides an at-a-glance rundown of your childcare options and the corresponding costs, as well as those extra monetary factors to think about with each one.

Childcare costs compared

Childcare costs
  How much does it cost? What should I know?
Childminder - 25 hours a week
  • British average: £109.84 per week (under 2s) / £109.29 per week (2+)
  • London average: £146.31 per week (under 2s) / £144.27 per week (2+)
  • You don’t need to deal with the childminder's tax or National Insurance contributions
  • You can use childcare vouchers or claim working tax credit if your childminder is Ofsted registered
Day nursery - 25 hours a week
  • British average: £116.25 per week (under 2s) / £112.38 per week (2+)
  • London average: £154.08 per week(under 2s) / £156.67 per week (2+)
  • Fees can be subsidised by local authorities or employers
  • You can use childcare vouchers or claim working tax credit
Au pair
  • About £65 - £85 per week, plus room and board
  • You won't be able to use childcare vouchers or claim working tax credit
Nanny (live in)
  • British average: £427.74 per week
  • London average: £462.09 per week
  • You can use childcare vouchers or claim working tax credit if your nanny is Ofsted registered
  • You’ll need to sort out the nanny's tax and National Insurance contributions through PAYE
Nanny (live out)
  • British average: £438.33 per week
  • London average: £478.23 per week
  • You can use childcare vouchers or claim working tax credit if your nanny is Ofsted registered
  • You’ll need to sort out the nanny's tax and National Insurance contributions through PAYE
After-school care - 15 hours a week
  • British average: £52.58 per week
  • London average: £42.09 per week
  • You’ll need to sort out alternative care to cover school holidays
After-school childminder - 15 hours a week
  • British average: £67.11 per week
  • London average: £97.12 per week
  • You’ll need to sort out alternative care to cover school holidays
Informal arrangements with shared parental care or care from family/friends
  • Can be free but, if you intend to pay them, you’ll need to sort out tax
  • You may need to factor in loss of income if one or both parents are taking some time off for childcare duties
  • You won't get any government support
Play group
  • £3 to £9 per session
  • You'll need to sort out alternative care to cover school holidays and/or the rest of the day
  • If your child is three or four and you live in England, they can get 30 hours of free childcare a week
Nursery school
  • Costs can vary, starting from around £30 per day
  • May be covered as part of a state scheme where you can access it free of charge

See our page on childcare options to better understand the different types of childcare, including their pros and cons. 

If you're worried about paying for childcare, see our guide to help with childcare costs.

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