Assembly Member Leonie Cooper Calls On Government 'To Step In'

As childcare costs in Wandsworth hit £20k according to her research

Families in Wandsworth with two children could pay an average of £20,168.20 a year in childcare bills, new analysis reveals. The analysis, conducted by Local London Assembly Member Leonie Cooper AM, considers the cost of childcare for families with one child at nursery and another in primary school.

Ms Cooper told this website that the figures, based on a report from the Family and Childcare Trust, demonstrate “why the Government must step in” to ensure parents have choices when it comes to childcare. In Wandsworth, there are approximately 22100 children under 5 and 25400 aged 5-11.

The report from the Family and Childcare Trust reveals that significant issues remain when it comes to the cost, availability, and accessibility of childcare in the capital.

In Inner London, the average price of a full time nursery place for a child is £290.73 per week. The average cost of a childminder caring for a primary school pupil after school costs an average of £97.12. Over the course of a year this means parents in Wandsworth with two children could face bills of over £20,000 – £7,500 more than a similar family in the North West of England, where childcare costs are among the lowest in the country. Someone with a full time London Living Wage job who wanted to go back to work would earn £19,012.50, meaning there would be a net financial loss to the family.

Some two year olds are eligible for free childcare, for example if they have special educational needs or the family is in receipt of tax credits, but in Inner London just over a third of local authorities said they had enough places for children entitled to the free offer. According to the Family and Childcare Trust, many local authorities also have significant concerns about availability ahead of the roll out of increased entitlement to free child care for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds later this year.

Local Labour London Assembly Member, Leonie Cooper AM, said, “It is vital that parents are able to make their own choice about how they want to organise childcare, and not be forced to either stay at home or go back to work because of the high cost of childcare, when that isn’t what they want to do.

“The Government put childcare at the heart of their manifesto – they must now step in to ensure childcare is affordable, flexible and available to all who need it. People shouldn’t be priced out of work, or find themselves unable to afford basic childcare costs simply because they happen to live in London.”

March 20, 2017