St Albans families paying region’s highest childcare bills

St Albans families are being hit by some of the biggest childcare bills in the region.

St Albans families are being hit by some of the biggest childcare bills in the region. - Credit: Archant

St Albans families are being hit by some of the biggest childcare bills in the region.

Hertfordshire is the most expensive area in the East of England region for childcare for three and four-year-olds, according to Government data.

Childcare in St Albans costs an average of £5.75 an hour according to the Department for Education.

Three and four-year-olds receive 15 hours free childcare a week and 30 hours for those with parents who both earn 16 hours pay at minimum wage. However, some parents say that what the Government provides is not enough to make working equitable.

St Albans mum, Farida Abdi, a make-up consultant with two school age children, said: “I earn minimum wage working in retail. By the time I have paid for two children to go to after-school club, I have made a loss on my earnings.”

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Ms Abdi explained that it costs £28 a session for both her children to be cared for while she is still at work.

Amy Luckhurst of Beaumont Avenue, St Albans, also spends most of her earnings as a nanny on childcare for her four-year old son. She claims that the Government funding does not apply to her and that she pays £40 per half day. “That is not much less than I earn,” she added.

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Annie Carley, 34, of Milford Close, has also found it extremely difficult to juggle working and looking after her child.

She said: “I am a hairdresser. I used to work in a salon before I had my daughter. I now work freelance as I cannot afford the childcare fees. It can be quite isolating working from home and it is not always practical to have a child around.”

St Albans mother, Miho Tabbara of Pageant Road is concerned about how she will finance childcare for her baby when she returns to work as a doctor next year: “Childcare for babies is very expensive as there is no help available. Almost my entire wage will be used on childcare for him.”

Gingerbread, a charity which supports single parents backed up the claims.

Charity director Dalia Ben-Galim said: “Our research shows that some parents spend roughly half their take-home pay on a nursery place and they consistently tell us that it doesn’t always pay to work.”

She explained that often parents are choosing not to work as it is “too risky or doesn’t add up”.

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