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Child-care Blues

Childcare costs are rising above the rate of inflation, with parents paying more than £8,000 a year, a charity report suggests.

The Daycare Trust says costs nationally rose 5% last year. Inflation is 2.1%. The average cost of a full-time nursery place for a child under the age of two in England was £159 per week. It also said that the cost of childcare in out-of-school clubs had risen by six times more than the rate of inflation to an average of £43 a week.

The trust said that Britons paid more for childcare than elsewhere in Europe, and many did not claim tax credits and vouchers, which can lower costs.

"Claiming tax credits - which can cover up to 80% of childcare costs - and vouchers from your employer can cut the cost of childcare considerably." said Daycare Trust joint chief executive "But even so, parents in the UK are still paying a bigger share - around 70% on average - of this spiralling cost than their neighbours in Europe, where the average is nearer 30%."�…