£26.50 a day: The cost of raising a child in Scotland

THE cost of raising a child in Scotland until their 21st birthday has risen to £203,000 – or £26.50 a day – a report has revealed.

The study by insurance group LV= shows the cost of bringing up a child has risen by 50% since the firms’s first Cost of A Child Report in 2003. It has gone up by an inflation-busting 4.5%, from £194,337, in the last year alone.

Today’s report comes in the same week as a study by Save the Children showing that nearly one in 10 children in Scotland are living in “severe poverty”.

Childcare and education – excluding private school fees – account for the biggest costs to parents. Childcare is estimated by LV= to cost £67,430 over the course of a child’s upbringing.

The Scottish figure is lower than the UK average figure of £210,000, or £27.50-a-day, which may be accounted for in part by the fact Scottish children attending universities in their homeland do not pay tuition fees.

Other regular expenses that have risen in cost at a rate higher than inflation include clothing, which is up 11.7% compared to last year, holidays (up 6.4%), food (up 5.9%) and personal care items, such as toiletries, which have risen by 5.1%.

The report indicated children cost most between the ages of one and four, when costs average £13,397 a year. Five to 10-year-olds require an outlay of £9476, dropping to £6831 a year for 11 to 17-year-olds.

Mark Jones, LV= head of protection, said: “Parents are all too aware that having a child comes with a hefty bill when you factor in things like childcare, schooling and holidays. Childcare and education must feel like another mortgage payment for some parents.”

Three-quarters of parents said they were having to economise because of the financial pressures they were under, with nearly half making savings on holidays.”

Satwat Rehman, director of One Parent Families Scotland, said those on lower incomes were particularly vulnerable to rising costs. She highlighted a recent report by the charity Children in Scotland that showed childcare costs in Scotland were rising.

Overall childcare costs are £84 for 25 hours a week – more than half the gross average part-time weekly earnings of £160. In addition, Government support to parents to fund childcare is going down – from 80% to 70%.

Ms Rehman said: “The costs of raising children and having a family are going up while support is going down. The cost of basics are going up and the greatest impact is on parents who are at the greatest risk of poverty.”

Lucy McTernan, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said its bureaux were seeing many families suffering “real financial problems”.

She added: “In this context we have real concerns about the new Welfare Reform Bill. Its central objective of getting unemployed people into work is great in principle, but it doesn’t take into account the issue of childcare in Scotland.

“Unlike in England and Wales there is no statutory obligation on Scottish councils to provide affordable childcare for working parents.

“In the real world, these are the kind of practical barriers that prevent parents from working.”

The Save the Children report showed 90,000 youngsters were living in households where the income was less than half the median; most are households where no adult works.