Childcare costs 6 per cent higher in countryside

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Rural families are paying £600 more per year for childcare, according to new research.

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Families pay a childcare premium for living in rural areas, the survey claims

The Countryside Living Index has found that parents living in the country pay an average of £202 per week for their child to be looked after, while their urban counterparts pay £190.

This £12 a week difference adds up to a total of £624 per year, a 6.3 per cent premium on childcare in rural areas, the report said.

The survey of 1,635 adults, carried out by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Mutual for the third consecutive year, found that lack of local nurseries and remoteness from family support were felt to be the main contributing factors to the premium.

Nearly a third (31 per cent) of rural parents said they had just one nursery or crèche in their local area and a quarter (25 per cent) said they had no childcare provision nearby.

A quarter said they lived too far from their parents to get any regular help with childcare, and the same proportion said they believed they paid more for childcare due to a lack of choice.

Tim Price, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said, ‘The lack of affordable, accessible childcare in the countryside combined with sparse employment opportunties is making it even harder for families to get by when they have young children.

‘With new mortgage rules now in place requiring costs including childcare to be factored into mortgage applications, young families living in the countryside could face further financial hardship.

‘However, while rural families do pay more for childcare they also enjoy a high level of satisfaction with local education provision and a greater quality of life overall compared to their urban counterparts.’