NurseryChildcare costs are rising at more than 6 per cent – double the rate of inflation – new figures released by the Daycare Trust and Family and Parenting Institute have revealed.

The Childcare Costs Survey 2013 found that the cost of nursery places, childminders and after-school clubs had all risen at twice the rate of inflation, which currently stands at 2.7 per cent. A place in Britain’s costliest nursery now costs £42,000 a year – 25 per cent more than a place at some of the leading public schools, such as Charterhouse, where fees are currently £30,574 a year.

Other areas of high cost include before and after school care, which can cost £4,000 a year for two children.

The research by the Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute also found that a nursery place now costs 77 per cent more in real terms than it did in 2003, while earnings have remained constant.

Anand Shukla, Chief Executive of Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute said: “Childcare is as essential as food and heating for working families. Yet while wages stay still and childcare becomes more expensive, it’s increasingly difficult for parents – and mothers in particular – to make work pay.

“We are particularly concerned that the steepest price increases this year – at 9% - is in childcare for school-age children, which is as important as care for the under-fives care in allowing parents to work.

“We know that the Government wants to reduce the cost of childcare to parents. But we are deeply concerned about proposals to relax ratios because this risks compromising quality, safety and children’s development. We urge the government in this year’s Budget to find ways to support parents with the costs of childcare – without compromising quality.

“The funding system for childcare is complex and our average figures may differ from the actual cost to childcare providers of providing high quality care. Yet, the survey makes clear that – from a parent’s perspective – costs are increasingly difficult to manage which is a finding that should concern us all. Families are being expected to pay more for their child’s nursery place – an average of £14,000 per year in London – than the fees for many private schools – and this cannot continue”

Anne Longfield, Chief Executive of 4Children said: “The soaring cost of childcare is taking high quality early years support out of reach for many families whose finances are already stretched to the limit. That’s why our Fair4Families campaign is calling on the Chancellor to seize Budget Day as an opportunity to support families through these hard times. We want the Chancellor to offer a new ‘triple lock’ to families, with no further cuts to services or benefits for families with children, and a positive offer for the future on major expenses such as childcare and housing.”

For more information, or to download the survey, click here