Staying at home rather than working ‘would make many parents better off’

MANY parents could be better off staying at home as the cost of childcare and sending children to school is making it too expensive to remain working, new research claims.

Some working mothers could be financially worse off by almost £100 a month, according to a study by the Aviva insurance group.

The firm’s latest Family Finances Report uses existing data and its own new figures to assess the impact of nursery and childcare costs on working families.

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The findings claim that the average monthly costs associated with going to work now total £120, while childcare adds up to £288 and schooling costs add up to £147.

Added together, this can make it uneconomical for some people to stay in work, especially those working part time, the research suggests.

It found that a woman in part-time work earns on average £8,557 a year, or £713 a month after tax.

But if she has two children, aged seven and one, she would pay out £721 a month in childcare and schooling costs, and £90 a month in costs associated with working.

This would leave her worse off by £98 a month than if she did not work.

These figures do not take into account employer or state benefits, the research notes.

It also claims that single-parent families with two children who rely on full-time childcare could be up to £225 a month worse off.

Around 32,000 more women have chosen to stay at home rather than work since the third quarter of last year, Aviva claims. The study did find that a woman with two children – aged seven and one – who works full time would end up £120 a month better off.

It concludes that there is often a “significant reliance” on one person in a family, with an average post-tax monthly income of £1,782, to meet all the day-to-day costs and plan for the future. A survey conducted for the report found that if the average family were to lose one income, half of those questioned said they would try to survive by cutting spending to a minimum, more than a quarter would look to the Government for help and a similar proportion would use their savings.