The doctor tasked with chairing a Labour study into NHS staffing says the issue is ''undoubtedly'' one of the biggest challenges the health service is facing.
Childcare Spending Nears £8,000 A Year
Families are typically spending around a quarter of their household income on childcare, according to a report.
Mothers and fathers are now forking out almost £8,000 a year on care for two youngsters - and often paying out more per week than they do on their weekly shopping.
But there are signs that the steep increases in childcare costs of the past are slowing down, with average prices rising roughly in line with inflation this year, the Family and Childcare Trust study concludes.
The report is based on information gathered from local council family of children information services in Scotland, England and Wales. Each authority was asked to give the cost of 25 hours and 50 hours of childcare as provided by nurseries and childminders. They were also asked to give figures on the average cost of 15 hours' childcare in an after-school club, and for a childminder picking youngsters up from school.
It found that a family with one child under two in part-time childcare and another aged five at an after-school club can now expect to shell out £7,933 a year for care. This is more than a quarter of a working family's typical annual household income of around £28,000, the Trust said, adding that this also represents a third of the median gross salary of a nurse and 22% of a soldier's typical wage.
The study also calculated that the average weekly cost in Britain of an under two-year-old spending 25 hours at nursery now stands at £116.77, up 1.1% on last year, while for a child aged two or over it is £111.88.
A two-adult household with children will spend around £77.90 a week on food and non-alcoholic drinks, according to Office for National Statistics data.
The report does conclude that when prices are weighted to take into account population distribution, part-time nursery places for under twos fell by 0.3% last year, while the cost of a childminder for a youngster of this age rose roughly in line with inflation.
A breakdown of the Trust's figures shows that the average 25-hour nursery cost for an under-two is £111.13 in Scotland, £118.13 in England and £110.16 in Wales.
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