PARENTS in the North East need to work for at least four months of the year just to break even on their childcare costs, new research has revealed.
The findings show the typical annual childcare costs for the North East is more than £6,500 and the average hourly female earnings is £10.78.
This means mothers are having to work full-time for 16.6 weeks before they earn anything beyond their childcare costs, according to mutual Family Investments.
The research used average childminder and nursery costs taken from local authorities as well as regional earnings figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The findings are based on a mum having one young child and having no childcare help from relatives or government schemes to help working parents.
Kate Moore, head of savings and investments at Family Investments, said: “These figures highlight the very significant costs mums face if they choose to return to work after maternity leave and the fact that they will spend up to four months of the year simply working towards these costs.”
She added: “What really jumps out from these figures is both the scale of the costs involved and the disparities in local affordability.”
Mothers living in the North tend to need to work for a week less a year than those living in the South to break even on their childcare costs, researchers said.
However, Yorkshire was a notable exception, with mums needing to work an above-national average 17.7 weeks a year.
On average, the study found that a mother pays £7,127 a year to a childminder or nursery and would need to work for 17 weeks a year before she has broken even on these costs.
London was found to have the highest typical annual childcare costs, at £9,283 – but London mothers also had the highest average wages at £15.07 an hour.
Parents are entitled to increased levels of help with childcare costs after their child’s third birthday, with 15 hours a week of free early education.
They can also make their money go further by taking part in a government voucher scheme which allows parents to pay for childcare costs out of their pre-tax wages.