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Schools out for summer and parents set to spend £8.6 billion on childcare and entertainment

Press release: 22/07/2011

  • UK parents to spend £660 per child over the summer holiday
  • Over a third (38%) of parents say the costs connected to school holidays are unaffordable
  • Over half (55%) of all families will not have a foreign holiday this year and nearly a third (29%) won't have a UK holiday

As the end of the school year approaches, the Cost of a Child Report from protection specialist LV= calculates that UK parents are set to spend £8.6 billion over the summer break on childcare (£3.2 billion) and entertainment (£5.4 billion)[1]. Earlier this year, a report by LV= found that on average, parents will spend £210,000[2] in total to raise a child from birth to age 21.

The summer holidays can be a daunting prospect for many parents with an average of 42 days [3] break from school. Parents will be spending an average of £110 per child per week, £660 per child over the entire summer break (£414 on entertainment costs and £246 on childcare). Nearly half of UK parents (49%) say they will need to pay for childcare during the summer break and a massive 93% will be spending extra on entertainment.

The pressure is on for parents as over a third (38%) state that the costs associated with school holidays this year are unaffordable. To combat these rising costs, one in ten (10%) of all parents will be relying on family, including grandparents, to look after their children for free.

Holidays abroad…not anymore

LV='s Cost of a Child Report 2011 found that parents spend a total of £14,052 on holidays for their child from birth to the age of 21 (an increase of 6.4% from 2010). Many families will want to seek out the summer sun over the long school holidays but unfortunately many will not be going abroad. Over half of all parents with children under the age of 18 years (55%) said that this year they will not be taking any holidays abroad. Nearly a third (29%) of families will not even be having a break in the UK. The days of several holidays abroad is a distant memory, with three quarters (74%) of those planning to travel abroad this year, taking one trip all year.

Low-cost activities

Although parents are continuing to make cut backs, they have become more creative in keeping the school holidays fun for their children. Financially savvy mums and dads are making the most of current discount offers with over half (59%) using them to reduce the costs of entertainment for their children and a further two thirds (62%) are planning to make the most of low cost of free activities, such as museums and parks. Two thirds of parents (63%) will be making use of activities in the home by encouraging their children to enjoy cooking and arts.

Mark Jones, LV= head of protection said:

"Understandably, many parents will be worried about how they can afford to meet the costs of childcare and keeping the kids entertained over the summer holiday period. It would seem that for many, sun, sea and sand on a holiday abroad is not on the cards this year, and instead it's the local park, pool and Peppa Pig on DVD. Many parents look set to be resourceful this summer; making use of special offers and discounts; and relying on extended family such as grandparents to help out with childcare.

"Many families will be looking at short-term measures to stretch the budget and try to save money in some areas to spend in others. Yet it's important to keep the bigger picture in mind. For instance, cancelling insurance policies or cutting back on long-term savings could have a huge impact on a family's finances if a parent were suddenly unable to work due to accident, illness or unexpected job loss. With 14% of parents saying they have recently made cuts specifically to their life, health, or unemployment insurance people could be leaving themselves and their families unprotected."

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Research carried out online from 25 – 28 March 2011 by Opinium Research on behalf of LV=. Total sample size was 2017 adults over the age of 18 years, with 553 of those respondents with children aged between 0 and 18.

  1. The average spent across all parents for entertainment is £69 and the average for childcare is £41 per child per week:
    Entertainment = £69 / 7 = £9.85 * 42 days * ONS parents (13.12million) = £5.4billion
    Childcare = £41/ 7 = £5.86 * 42 days * ONS parents (13.12million) = 3.2billion
    Combined = £8.6 billion

    Across all parents the average spend on entertainment is £69 and £41 on childcare. This equals £110 per child per week and (*6 weeks) £660 over the entire summer holiday break.

    Entertainment - £69 * 6 weeks = £414
    Childcare- £41*6 weeks = £246

    Length of school holidays based on 6 week state school holiday length. Actual dates may vary on a school to school basis.

  2. The LV= Cost of a Child calculations, from birth to 21 years, have been compiled by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CEBR) for LV= in January 2011 and are based on the cost for the 21 year period to December 2010. The report also includes omnibus research conducted for LV= by Opinium Research from 25-28 January 2011. The total sample size was 527 parents of children under the age of 18. Results have been weighted to a nationally representative criteria.

  3. According to includes all public school (half term) holidays plus bank holidays (excludes weekends)


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