How much does it cost to raise a child in Kent?

by Lauren Abbott

The cost of raising a child in Kent now stands at a staggering £245,756.

That makes it the second most expensive place in the country to raise a child from birth to the age of 21, with only London hitting pockets harder.

The figure, from insurance provider LV=, is £20,000 higher than the UK average.

The high cost of raising a child
The high cost of raising a child

The years between one and four are the most expensive according to the survey, which is largely due to the cost of babysitting.

The survey, now in its 13th year, found six out of ten parents admitting they struggled to make ends meet.

Spokesman Myles Rix said: "The cost of raising a child is at an all-time high and, with the price-tag of childcare continuing to rise, family incomes are being stretched even further.

"An unforeseen illness or accident could have a huge impact on family finances and we would urge parents to ensure they have a plan in place to guard against a sudden loss of income, for example taking out an income protection product."

The high cost of looking after children means many parents take a temporary break from work to have a baby before returning through financial necessity.

However, going back to work often means paying for childcare - and figures show those costs have risen 27 per cent since 2009.

As a result increasing numbers of parents discover they are unable to work, are forced into reducing their hours or have to quit work altogether.

Kids don't come cheap!
Kids don't come cheap!

A separate Annual Childcare Report by found that childcare-related problems has stopped an estimated 300,000 parents in the UK returning to work in the last 12 months, with cost being the biggest barrier.

Indeed, the poll found that a quarter of UK mums would like to work but can’t because of high fees.

It's happening more and more that parents can't afford to go back to work

Siobhan Freegard, founder of the parenting site Netmums, says that while more mothers are working now than at any time in history, many are being forced back into employment to meet financial needs.

She explained: "Combine this with the ongoing baby boom and you have the perfect storm to force up the already worryingly high price of childcare.

"The tremendous pressure on the childcare system means costs are now at an all-time high, creating a barrier for some parents who desperately want to return to work."

The last Trust Childcare report by the Family and Childcare Trust found that even part-time childcare costs can outstrip the average mortgage.

A family with two children may pay £7,549 a year for one part-time nursery place and one after-school place compared to the average UK mortgage payment of £7,207 annually.

"I think things have changed for the worst over the last year, and that's very strongly borne out in our survey” said Jill Rutter head of policy and research.

"It's happening more and more that parents can't afford to go back to work."

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