Huge rise in cost of raising children

THE cost of raising a child in the east of England is now more than �200,000 - a rise of �20,000 in just a year, a survey has found.

Craig Robinson

THE cost of raising a child in the east of England is now more than �200,000 - a rise of �20,000 in just a year, a survey has found.

Last night, a parenting charity warned that many families were now struggling to make ends meet - especially with the pressures of the current economic slump.

The annual survey from insurance and investment group LV= shows that it now costs up to �200,274 to raise a child from birth to the age of 21 in the east of England.

This is equivalent to �9,537 a year, �794.74 a month or �26.13 a day.

It is a rise of 10% since the last survey in December 2007 and is up 39% over the five years since it began in 2003, when the cost was �143,944.

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Childcare remains the biggest expenditure, costing parents �60,989 from six months to 14 years of age - an increase of 27% in the last year alone.

Angela Ferguson, from parenting charity Parentline Plus, said: “The cost of bringing up a child is a real concern for many parents and carers, especially with the added financial pressures of the credit crunch.

“A survey we did about coping with financial pressures as a family showed that 70% of parents struggled to make ends meet, with the pressures felt most acutely during the school holidays, when the costs of childcare and keeping kids occupied can put a real strain on the purse strings.

“Also, kids are under pressure now more than ever to have the latest fashion and technology in order to fit in and many families simply can't afford to do this. Many parents can no longer buy fashion or high value items in a way that was routine a year ago.”

The survey shows that more than eight out of 10 parents in the east of England (82%) are now consciously buying lower cost items and supermarket own brands while four out of ten (43%) are selling unwanted items to make extra money and a third (37%) are turning to second hand shops and car boots.

Mike Rogers, LV= group chief executive, said: “Our research shows that parents are being very resourceful when it comes to budgeting and cutting back on non-essential spend

“Planning ahead is more important than ever though, and saving as much as you can, just a little and often, could help to ease the financial pain.”

The most expensive region in which to bring up a child is outer London (�211,977) followed by central London (�202,644) and then the east of England (�200,274).

The West Midlands is the cheapest place to raise a child (�186,641), followed by the North East (�186,818) and the North West (�188,847).

The data is worked out using a range of sources and includes the cost of nurseries, school equipment, after school clubs, university fees, rent and living costs, as well as findings from the Halifax Pocket Money survey and the National Union of Students.

n Any parents who would like advice, support or have any concerns can contact Parentline Plus free of charge 24 hours a day on 0808 800 2222 or can visit .

WITH a five-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter Victoria and Christopher Dean know only too well about the costs of providing for a young family.

The couple, who live in Capel St Mary, near Ipswich, have seen a rise in their food bills since the start of the credit crunch - while the cost of clothes has also proved expensive.

“We kept the cot and things like that but obviously having a boy and a girl we had to start again with the clothes,” Mrs Dean said. “We had a few hand me downs from friends which helped. But the trouble is they grow so quickly. My son only began school in September and already he has started growing out of things.

“The food bill has also gone up a lot, I've noticed that the most. You find that you have to try and limit yourself but it depends on what your budget is.”

Mrs Dean, who owns Robins Day Nursery in Capel St Mary, said she was fortunate she did not have to pay for childcare for Edward, five, and Libby, two - but the family was still forced to save in certain areas.

“Obviously I'm privileged in the fact that I can work at the nursery and look after the children at the same time,” she said. “So that's a bit of a saving. We have cut back on a few things - we maybe don't buy as much brand stuff as we used to and we look for the cheaper alternative instead.”

The cost of bringing up a child in the east of England

Expenditure Jan 2009 Dec 2007

Childcare �60,989 �47,900

Education �50,240 �47,310

Food �17,205 �16,386

Clothing �13,281 �12,649

Holidays �11,920 �13,359

Babysitting �10,826 �9,523

Hobbies & toys �10,313 �9,822

Leisure and recreation �7,415 �7,062

Pocket money �3,475 �3,627

Furniture �2,366 �2,253

Personal �1,037 �988

Other (includes �11,207 �10,673

driving lessons, first car,

birthday and Christmas


Total �200,274 �181,552