Cuckooz Nest, the creche-integrated, flexible workspace, has researched which cities across the UK provide the best option for working parents based on the cost of childcare as a percentage of the salary on offer.
They looked at the average weekly cost of childcare in 20 major UK cities, as well as the average weekly earnings after tax in each city before doubling this to account for both parents to see where offers the most affordable option once maternity or paternity leave is over both parents must return to work.
Across the UK, the average weekly cost of childcare is £371.50, meaning those parents who both want to return to work are forking out 41.1% of their earnings on nannies, childminders, babysitters or nurseries.
Topping the table for the lowest percentage of earnings spent on childcare is Plymouth, where it costs on average £290 a week. With the average weekly pay in the city hitting £426 a week after tax, this equates to £852 for two parents, with childcare accounting for 34% of this.
Not far behind is Portsmouth, with an average childcare cost of £323 a week, accounting for 35.7% of weekly earnings, with nearby Southampton also one of the most affordable, with 36.5% of weekly earnings spent on childcare.
Birmingham (36.9%), Cambridge (37.5%), Oxford (37.5%), Sheffield (37.9%), Aberdeen (37.9%), Edinburgh (38.6%) and Glasgow (39%) also place in the top half of the table.
Of course, London is home to the highest proportion, with a whopping 43% of a couple’s weekly earnings spent on childcare in the capital.
Cuckooz Nest co-founder Charlie Rossier said: “It’s no secret that wage growth has fallen way behind the escalating costs of goods and services, and childcare is no different with many parents struggling to find an affordable option when returning from maternity or paternity leave.
While this research shows that Plymouth offers the best option in terms of affordability, the fact that 34% of a family’s weekly income is still spent on suitable childcare is quite frankly eye-watering. If they opt for a nanny, then they also have the PAYE responsibilities that come with it, as well as holiday pay.
Something needs to give, whether it’s direct financial help, an uplift in earnings, or the provision of more flexible childcare options in the workplace. This is something we believe in strongly at Cuckooz Nest and we will continue to campaign for it until the financial barrier of returning to work is lowered for parents across the nation.”
- Average childcare costs sourced from Childcare.co.uk.
- Childcare cost per hour multiplied to cover 8 am-6 pm for the average working day and to allow commuting time, then multiplied by five to find the weekly figure.
- Weekly earnings sourced from ONS.
- Weekly earnings after tax are found via Money Saving Expert.
- Weekly earnings multiplied by two to allow for both parents.
- Belfast was excluded due to a lack of childcare cost data.