23 July 2019

  • Parents spending 28% more on childcare than three years ago
  • Over half of grandparents providing care for their grandchildren
  • One in four grandparents are saving for their grandchildren’s future

The amount spent on childcare by parents in Scotland has risen sharply in recent years, according to the latest How Scotland Lives research by Bank of Scotland.

The survey, which saw YouGov poll more than 3,000 people across Scotland, found that parents are now spending an average of £276 on childcare each month, or £3,312 over the course of a year. This is up from £216 a month (or £2,592 annually) in 2016.

To lessen the impact of rising childcare costs, parents appear to be turning to older family members for more support.

Over half of grandparents (53%) say they are providing ad hoc or regular care for their grandchildren. They are now spending an average of 9.3 hours each week with their grandchildren, an increase from 8.0 hours in 2016. The proportion providing 20 or more hours of care each week up has also risen from 9% to 15% over the same period.

It may come as a surprise to some that 6% of parents say they are asking their children’s great-grandparents to provide regular childcare.

Ricky Diggings, Director, Bank of Scotland, said: “The cost of childcare can be a major financial burden for parents, particularly during times when their kids are on holiday.

“While most grandparents are more than happy to help out and enjoy spending time with their grandchildren, the financial benefit this also provides to families should not be underestimated.

“Lower income households that don’t have savings to fall back on could find the summer months a more difficult time if they can’t call on friends or family for support.”

How do gran and granddad help out?

Three-quarters (74%) of grandparents say they regularly buy treats for the kids, while 29% say they regularly cover the cost of specific items.

But their generosity also extends beyond the short-term, with a quarter (25%) saying they are saving towards grandchildren’s future.

With the summer in full swing, there is good news for little ones with almost half of grandparents (46%) saying they regularly or occasionally take their grandchildren on holiday.

Once the holidays are over, many grandparents will be straight back into the action with three in 10 (29%) regularly doing drop-offs and pick-ups from nursery or school.

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