UK home to the third highest childcare costs in Europe

The latest research by Cuckooz Nest, a flexible workspace with integrated creche facilities, has looked at the high cost of childcare in the UK and how this compares to the rest of Europe.

A previous survey by Cuckooz Nest found that 46% of parents cited the affordability of childcare as the largest obstacles when returning to work after having a child, hardly surprising given that the UK is home to the third most expensive level of childcare in the EU.

Cuckooz looked at the average monthly childcare costs of each nation as a percentage of the average net salary for two parents.

The data shows that at an average of £865 a month, childcare costs in the UK are the third highest in Europe, second only to the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

However, the UK’s failure to see wage price growth increase in line with other escalating costs means the UK only has the eight highest average salary.

As a result, the UK is home to childcare costs that total a quarter of a couple’s monthly net salary, with just Bulgaria (27%) and the Netherlands (28%), home to a higher level.

Greece, Romania, Slovakia, Portugal, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary are also home to some of the highest childcare costs as a proportion of the average salary on offer.

Mum and co-founder of Cuckooz Nest, Charlie Rosier, commented:

“We previously looked at the high cost of childcare across the UK but to put it into perspective with other European nations really highlights the uphill struggle facing those returning from maternity leave, who don’t have the luxury or the financial stability for one parent to stay at home full-time.

Whether you’re in or out politically, the high cost of living in the UK and for childcare in particular, is something we can all agree needs to be addressed. We could do far worse than taking a leaf from the likes of Sweden and Finland, where not only is the wage available superior to the UK, but the cost of childcare is a fraction of what we are forced to pay here.

The saving on offer for big businesses when retaining great talent rather than replacing it is huge and we need to work towards a solution that works for both employer and employee. This could be through subsidising costs or providing tax relief but whatever the approach we still have a long way to go.”

EU Nation Avg salary (x2) Avg childcare cost Childcare as % of monthly salary
Netherlands £3,900.18 £1,107 28%
Bulgaria £878.20 £241 27%
United Kingdom £3,474.40 £865 25%
Greece £1,194.58 £277 23%
Romania £975.62 £219 22%
Slovakia £1,349.90 £303 22%
Portugal £1,387.46 £300 22%
Lithuania £1,245.58 £265 21%
Latvia £1,220.32 £256 21%
Hungary £1,089.94 £227 21%
Ireland £3,636.16 £741 20%
France £3,099.42 £572 18%
Slovenia £1,799.60 £323 18%
Czech Republic £1,624.66 £288 18%
Luxembourg £5,083.28 £891 18%
Malta £1,913.12 £309 16%
Italy £2,389.32 £369 15%
Cyprus £1,886.98 £265 14%
Belgium £3,336.76 £467 14%
Spain £2,133.92 £297 14%
Poland £1,318.24 £179 14%
Estonia £1,815.22 £234 13%
Croatia £1,285.56 £111 9%
Denmark £4,414.08 £350 8%
Germany £3,769.38 £263 7%
Austria £3,253.32 £209 6%
Finland £3,848.46 £246 6%
Sweden £3,653.62 £173 5%



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