British spend £8.6bn over school summer holiday

Posted on Sunday, July 24th, 2011 in Life Insurance

The annual school summer holiday began for most British children this week. Along with it will come considerable cost for their parents.

Research released this week claims that UK parents will part with a total of £8.6bn in 2011, simply in order to entertain and care for their young ones over the school break.

Insurance company LV= carried out research for their Cost of a Child report which puts the cost per child of the summer vacation at £660 on average – or £110 per week. More than a third of parents who responded to the survey said they will struggle to pay for everything their child is likely to need over the summer.

Over the holiday period, which lasts 6 weeks for most school children, parents will spend approximately £410 per child on baby sitters and other childcare to ensure their children are looked after while they are at work. This is a cost which approximately half of parents say they will need to pay out for. 93% said they would need to spend money on keeping them entertained, and this will cost £220 per child approximately.

Parents cited discount vouchers and online offers as a popular way to cut summer activity costs to a minimum, and the use of supermarket loyalty vouchers was also a popular way to save money. Other parents have chosen to organise activities with their children at home to keep them busy, such as baking, crafts or painting. The internet is also becoming a popular way to find free and reduced cost days out to keep spending to a minimum, and various parenting forums exist for mums and dad to swap ideas and tips. 62% of parents said they would be taking their children to free local attractions, such as museums or public parks.

Almost a third of those surveyed did not plan on going on any summer holiday whatsoever this year. Overseas holidays are not possible for 55% of the families with children under the age of 18.

Experts are concerned that expensive childcare is encouraging parents on low incomes to give up their jobs rather than work, simply because they need to pay for nursery or child care bills.

One tenth of the people surveyed by LV= said they would be relying on family and friends to take care of their children for free in order to make their summer affordable.

Barnardo’s spokesperson, Neena Sharman, said: “For families like those Barnardo’s works with who live on just £13 per person per day, paying for expensive days out is simply out of their reach.”

The children’s charity Gingerbread are calling on the coalition government to put more funding into summer camps. They also want the state to provide cheaper childcare for parents who find it difficult to finance the cost of looking after their children between school terms.

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