Families in Derry and Armagh are paying most for childcare
FAMILIES in counties Armagh and Derry are forking out the most to keep their children in full time private childcare, new figures have revealed.
According to Employers for Childcare, the average cost of a full-time childcare place in the north is now £168 per week, which is equivalent to almost 40 per cent of a weekly average household income.
However in Armagh and Derry that figure rises to a £176 per week compared to Co Fermanagh who where the weekly cost averages out at £140 per week.
Employers for Childcare's 8th Annual Childcare Cost Survey has found that many parents believe access to childcare is acting as a barrier to work.
In almost a third of households, the childcare bill is more than the mortgage or rent.
Almost half of parents have had to go without or cut back on heating their home and skip meals in order to meet childcare costs.
Just more than a third of parents have also used means such as savings, credit cards, loans or gifts from family and friends, and even pay day loans to cover the cost.
This figure is up from 25 per cent last year.
The results of the survey show that the overall cost of a full-time day nursery place has increased by more than £12 a month in the past year while the cost of a place at a holiday scheme has increased by £10 a week in a private setting and £13 in a community setting.
Aoife Hamilton, Policy and Information Manager at Employers For Childcare, said: "This year’s results express the most personal impact since recording began in 2010.
"Many parents have told us how the high cost and lack of childcare provision has been detrimental to their family well-being," she said.
"There is an overwhelming cry from parents who perceive they are being penalised if they choose to go to work. They want childcare to be an enabler to work and are calling for the Government to provide financial help but more importantly, information on the support currently available".