Childcare in the East Riding is among the cheapest in Yorkshire and the Humber, figures reveal.
The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) warns providers across the country are struggling to stay afloat, thanks to rising costs and insufficient funding for the Government’s 30 hours’ free childcare scheme.
The average hourly fee charged by childcare providers for three and four year olds in the East Riding was £4.25 in 2019, according to a Department for Education survey.
That was one of the lowest charges in Yorkshire and the Humber, where the average was £4.41. Fees in the area have decreased over the past year, dropping from £4.50 in 2018, going against a national trend which saw a 2.4% hike across England.
Localised figures are rounded to the nearest 25p.
Families with both parents in work – or just one in single-parent households – who earn at least 16 hours minimum wage per week but less than £100,000 a year are entitled to 30 hours’ free childcare weekly during term time.
But industry experts argue funding for the scheme does not cover provider’s costs, pushing up the cost of childcare outside the funded hours.
PACEY says some smaller providers are being forced to shut up shop or join larger chains, leading to what it described as the “Tesco-isation” of childcare, and less choice for parents.
In the East Riding, the number of Early Years childcare providers – those who care for children from birth up until five – registered with Ofsted fell from 395 in 2015 to 336 last year, a decrease of 15%.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said the Government had recently announced an increase to hourly funding rates for councils in 2020-21, and it would continue to monitor the childcare market closely.
She added: “The setting of local provider funding rates is a decision for local authorities in consultation with their Schools Forum.”