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Our experience working with clients is now reflected in evidence from this report, highlighting the unsettling fact that we are now living in an economic environment where the cost of childcare is influencing parents’ decision on whether or not they choose to have more children. This cost – roughly £6,500 per year for the average UK household – is not only affecting couples’ family planning, but appears to have wide-ranging effects on their work practices and family life.
We surveyed 2,000 working parents across the UK with children aged five and under, and in line with our experience advising families saw not only how parents are cutting back on the amount of days they work to lower their childcare costs (markedly higher for women than men), but also just how heavily parents are relying on wider family members to help with childcare. This seems to be particularly impacting grandparents, just at a time they may be expecting to be financially free of work, but is also particularly worrying for parents who don’t have access to family help.