The Average UK Household Pays £829 on Childcare a Month

Accessing and affording childcare is becoming increasingly difficult, with the UK ranking as the third most expensive country for childcare among OECD members. Yet, childcare is a necessity for most families.

To help us understand the impact it’s having on parents, The Co-operative Bank has researched the most and least affordable cities for childcare in the UK, looking at factors like the number of hours of work needed to cover expenses, and what percentage of parents’ monthly income goes towards childcare. 

Liverpool ranks as the UK city with the most affordable childcare, with an average monthly cost of £800 

With the lowest monthly cost on the list (£800), Liverpool is the UK’s most affordable city for childcare. On average, men in the city would need to work 53 hours per month in order to pay the childcare cost, whereas women would need to work 57 hours — two of the lowest figures on the list. 

Bradford comes second. Though childcare costs are equal to Liverpool’s (£800 per month), the lower average salary makes it slightly more challenging to afford.

In third place is Stoke-on-Trent, where childcare costs are slightly more expensive at £839 per month. The percentage of parents’ joint net income needed for childcare is 22.6%, which is also slightly more than in Bradford (20.6%).

RankCityMonthly childcare costs Number of hours worked to pay monthly childcareNet income total for men & women
MaleFemaleMen & women

London is ranked as the most expensive city for childcare, costing £1,781 per month

London is ranked the most expensive city for childcare, with costs averaging £1,781 per month — a massive 123% higher than in Liverpool. The number of hours worked to pay the cost is two of the highest figures on the list (77 hours for men and 95 hours for women). 

Derby comes second, with monthly costs at £1,350, lower than London but still substantial. To cover this expense, men need 75 hours of work, while women require 91 hours. 

Third is Bristol, where parents need to spend a higher percentage of their monthly salary (29.7%) on covering childcare costs (£1,333).

RankCityMonthly childcare costs Number of hours worked to pay monthly childcareNet income total for men & women
MenWomenMen & women

Parents in Southend-on-Sea are spending the highest percentage (31.2%) of their monthly salary on childcare

Parents in Southend-on-Sea are spending 31.2% of their monthly dual income on childcare, which is the highest percentage on the list. Women alone would need to pay 74.9% of their salary to pay for childcare here, while men would need to pay 53.6%.

Plymouth comes close behind, with 31.1% of two parents’ monthly salary going into childcare, followed by Luton with 30.9%.

RankCityMonthly childcare cost as a % of monthly monthly net income Monthly childcare cost as a % of total monthly net income
MaleFemale Male & female
1Southend on Sea53.6%74.9%31.2%
2Plymouth 54.1%73.4%31.1%

Karen Davison, Customer Service Leader in Financial Support, Complex Arrears and Bereavement comments: 

“We know that raising a child comes with a fair share of financial challenges. We’re on hand to support you with everyday money management, whether it’s to work out a budget based on your current situation or general questions about your finances. 

“To help manage childcare costs, there are government schemes being introduced in the near future. Though there is no quick fix, these schemes are available to provide help, support and alleviate some of the financial strain. 

“If you are feeling worried about your personal finances, it can be beneficial to have regular financial check-ins to keep your money on track. Our branch colleagues are on hand to help you. Using our mobile app, online banking or automated telephone banking, we can help you keep on track of your income and outgoings.”

Sophia Anderson

Sophia Anderson is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on money, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development.