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Being a girl who takes after her father in planning for the future (anyone who has read his blog about my sister should appreciate his supreme level of organisation) I have started thinking about the childcare we’ll need once I go back to work in October 2012. So we’re now on the waiting list for the nursery on campus, but looking at the prices isn’t half a shock. For a child under two it costs £777 a month full-time (for over twos it is £40 cheaper a month). I was aware that we would need to pay for childcare, but I hadn’t fully appreciated how much it would cost – that’s almost as much as my mortgage! If we had two (and I was convinced it was twins until I had my first scan) then it almost wouldn’t really be financially sensible for me to return to work at all, and I’m not on a bad wage.

OK, so we should get child benefit (I’m very unclear about how the changes to this are going to work in practice) and can get childcare vouchers tax-free, which helps, but that’s a huge hit on our disposable income. All until they go to school, as that’s free (at least at the moment!). So for four years they’re expensive, then there’s 13 years of free education followed by having to pay for their higher education at ridiculously increasing costs. £777 a month is £9,324 a year so it is equivalent to the fees Universities are able to charge from next year.

Is there any limit on what childcare costs as the Government are imposing on HE? I’m not even sure how typical these costs are compared to other places.

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