19 Feb 2013
Childcare costs for parents in Scotland have soared by more than £600 a year since 2005, a report released today has revealed.
The Growing Up in Scotland publication stated the weekly average cost was now £88 for a 10-month child – £12 a week more than six years before.
The paper also showed a quarter of parents had real difficulty in paying childcare costs, with only 10 per cent saying it was easy.
The struggles of families to get on the housing ladder was also laid bare, with the proportion of youngsters living in private rented accommodation rising from six per cent in 2005 to 16 per cent now.
Yesterday, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said in a keynote speech that much more had to be done to help parents find affordable childcare, which would allow them to return to work without being hit in the pocket.
Initially, the most deprived families would receive free childcare for two-year-olds, with the aspiration to roll it out further in future.
She also called for the UK Government and the Bank of England to force banks to bring back 95 per cent mortgages to help people on to the property ladder.
Today’s Scottish Government report compares statistics to a similar exercise undertaken in 2005.
Satisfaction among parents with health visitors was very high, with 83 per cent saying they were good, or very good, and 91 per cent reporting their health visitor listened to them.
The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly urged the SNP to introduce more health visitors across Scotland to improve the health of both babies and their mothers.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said:
“This report confirms the very genuine struggles thousands of families face across Scotland to afford a decent level of childcare.
“Many of these mothers are put off returning to work because the cost of childcare would simply cancel out their wages.
“That is an unacceptable situation, and not one that families wanting to do their best should have to consider.
“That is why we want to roll out free childcare for two-year-olds, starting with the most vulnerable but going well beyond that.
“Everyone would benefit from this, because it would give the opportunity for more individuals to re-enter the workplace without directing all that money into childcare.
“The report also highlights how more families are living in private rented accommodation, instead of owning their own property.
“Home ownership isn’t what everyone wants, but people should have choices open to them.
“The fact there has been a 10 per cent rise of young families in the private rented sector in only a few years suggests many want to, but simply cannot get onto the housing ladder.
“As I set out this week, if banks were encouraged into offering 95 per cent mortgages to those who can afford the repayments – but are currently struggling to raise the enormous deposits – many in that situation would be able to achieve their dream of owning their own property in which to raise their family.”