Healthplan Spain


Spain Attracts Brits Seeking Affordable Childcare Amid UK Cost Hike Spain News

According to recent statistics, childcare costs in the UK are significantly higher than in any other European country, including Spain.

A survey conducted by the charity Pregnant Then Screwed revealed that the average annual cost for childcare in the UK is £14,000, which can account for as much as 75 percent of a parent's income.

Data from the OECD reveals that within European Union nations, as much as 90 percent of children between the ages of three and five, and one-third of children under three years old, receive childcare services. The cost of these services, in terms of a middle-income two-earner couple's median wage, is 14 percent across the board, while low-income couples pay 11 percent and single parents pay between seven and nine percent.

In contrast, the United Kingdom's net cost for childcare services is almost 52 percent of median female earnings, according to the same data.

London-based consultant Sara Bustillo de Castro whose book on childcare entitled ‘The Power of Where: International Careers and Modern Parenting’ is set to be published in September, plans to return to her native Spain this summer due to the high cost and unreliability of childcare in the UK.

We’re going to move back to Madrid in August because we can’t make it work with childcare being so expensive and unreliable,” she said.

Having spent a decade in France as an aerospace engineer, she found it challenging to return to work in the UK after having her second child, whereas she didn't experience such difficulties after her first child in France. She asked “Why was it so difficult for a woman to go back to work?

According to Mrs de Castro, a contributing factor is the UK's lack of government funding and public nurseries, which are more prevalent in countries like France. She notes that the UK's provision of "30 free hours a week" only applies to children aged three and above, causing nurseries to increase fees for one and two-year-olds to compensate for the funding shortfall.

In the UK, the shortage of nursery staff is another challenge, which Mrs de Castro attributes to factors such as low pay, challenging working conditions, and the impact of Brexit on immigration. She also said that “It has become quite ingrained that mums stay at home and don’t work. But for many of them, it’s not by choice, it’s just because they can’t pay for childcare otherwise.

Mrs de Castro also noted that staff-to-child ratios in Spain are higher than in the UK. Ofsted rules that there should be one adult for every three babies, and one adult for every four toddlers, whereas in Spain, it is one adult for eight babies.

In regards to using a nanny for childcare in Spain, they normally cost between 800 and 1,000 euros (£700-£875) per month.

Working mothers also receive 100 euros per month in childcare benefits and are entitled to a 1,000 euro annual payment for kindergarten.

State nurseries for children aged 16 weeks and above are also cheap compared to the UK.

In his budget this week, the UK Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt announced a cash injection for childcare to the sum of £4 billion. However, some experts fear that this will not be enough to cover his promised extension of free hours for one and two-year-olds, meaning that prices will be increased for the remaining paid-for hours.