Retain valuable staff with tax-friendly childcare schemes

Employers have been urged to be use tax-friendly childcare schemes as a tool to retain valuable employees.

The call comes as research from charity the Daycare Trust shows that the average cost of UK childcare during school summer holidays has grown by 3% to £76 a week year on year.

The Daycare Trust, which surveyed 204 Children’s Information Services, said parents faced problems finding childcare for the entire six-week school holiday and they often had to shift their children between different daycare centres.

Beth Reid, campaigns and public affairs officer at the Daycare Trust, said employers should be taking advantage of new laws, introduced in April, including childcare vouchers, even if they limited any scheme to the weeks when schools were closed.

“These offer tax and national insurance benefits for both employers and are an attractive benefit for a lot of employees,” she said.

In the South-East, the most expensive region for holiday childcare, parents paid an average of £87.75 a week, while families in Scotland and inner London paid the least, at £69.78 and £58.36 a week respectively.

However, there were big regional differences when it came to the most expensive childcare provision.

The South East again topped that table, with some parents forking out as much as £270 a week. In comparison, the costliest childcare in the West Midlands was £130.

“It is at times like these that the benefits of working for some families can become marginal with the cost of childcare consuming a large part of a family’s income,” said Susan Crane, chief executive of the Daycare Trust.

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