Current Students and Staff

// University News

20 Jul 2016

High childcare costs hit working parents’ living standards, research reveals

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New research from Loughborough University published today (20 July) reveals that childcare costs are leaving working couples £2,600 a year short of a decent living standard.

This year’s analysis of the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for the UK highlights the impact the prohibitive cost of childcare has on parents’ ability to make ends meet and care for their children, even taking into account the rise in the National Living Wage. 

The research, calculated annually by Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP), is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). The MIS is based on what members of the public think people need to achieve a decent living standard.

The research shows that to meet what the public consider a minimum standard:

  • A couple with two children needs to earn at least £18,900 a year each
  • A lone parent with one child needs to earn £27,900
  • A single person without children needs to earn £17,100 a year

The research found that although some necessities like food and fuel have become cheaper in the past two years, one of the most significant barriers to reaching a decent standard of living for working families is the cost of childcare. Parents on low incomes who have to pay for childcare are often unable to find arrangements that leave them financially better off.

The balance between working and caring is shown in the difficulty reaching the MIS if parents do try to increase their earnings. Even with the National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour, working full time does not get you to a minimum standard of living if you have to pay for full time childcare.

Click here to read the full release.