CHILDREN’S nurseries are charging more than the cost of some Scots private schools.
In several Edinburgh nurseries the cost of full-time care for a child under the age of two is more than 11,000 a year.
The cost is similar in Glasgow and Aberdeen.
This compares with annual senior school fees of 9670 at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, 9948 at Glasgow High and 9978 at St Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen.
Scottish Labour’s education spokesman Ken Macintosh said:
“This is nothing short of a national scandal because families are being squeezed in two directions.
“On the one hand parents face bigger bills because the Tories have cut tax credits and child benefit at the very time many local authorities scale back provision of nursery schools.
“Families can face desperate situations as mums want to go back to their jobs but find they simply can’t afford to work. “
A study by the Daycare Trust revealed parents in Scotland pay more than south of the border.
The average yearly cost of 25 hours care for a child under two in Scotland is 5178.
This compares to 5028 in England and 4723 in Wales.
Kate Groucutt, of the Daycare Trust, said:
“We know parent in Britain pay more towards childcare than any other country in Europe, and Scotland has higher average costs than England and Wales.
“However, it’s still shocking to hear that fees at some nurseries in Scotland are more expensive than top private schools.
“It’s no wonder many parents feel they are being priced out of the job market, due to the extortionate cost of childcare.
In Scotland three and four-year-olds are eligible for 12.5 hours free pre-school education.
There is also help available through tax credits and employer-supported childcare vouchers.
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association Scotland, which represents private and voluntary sector nurseries, said that nurseries were trying hard to keep the costs down, but
“they too are facing the same rising costs in areas such as food and utilities. “
“Business rates are a key concern for Scottish nurseries, and some reported that their rates have increased by up to 300 per cent.
“All these cost increases, in addition to trying to pay staff a liveable wage, impact on the ability of nurseries to keep fees in check.
“Nurseries are working hard to ensure fee increases are kept to a minimum. “