Parents facing nursery fees hike

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Nursery fees are set to be increased by £4 a day at Leeds City Council run children’s centres.

Council chiefs are proposing to increase childcare costs from £41 a day to £43 a day from January before a second hike to £45 a day next September.

Leeds City Council’s director of children’s services is due to make a decision on the proposed price rises by November 2.

The proposed increases have led to strong reactions from parents on our Facebook pagea.

Gaynor Louise Bainbridge wrote: “Making it harder for both parents to go out to work, so we can make better lives for our kids.”

Coun Stewart Golton, leader of Leeds Lib Dem Group, said: “This increases the cost of a full time nursery place to £11,700 per year, well above the Yorkshire average.

“It is a significant extra outlay for young families in the city, who I fear are going to bear this unfair extra burden to make up for Leeds City Council’s overspend in other areas.

“There was no mention of this price hike in the budget proposals at the start of the year and I am very concerned by the way this decision has been made.

“The council has provided no justification for this decision.”

Coun Golton added: “It appears they are trying to sneak it through in such a way that avoids the full scrutiny of the executive board.”

The majority of families using the service receive a child care subsidy through government funding for children aged from two years old or through working tax credit.

Coun Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families, said: “Although we are proposing to increase fees they will still remain below the average market cost.

“Furthermore, we are trying to limit the impact on household budgets by staggering the increase so it coincides with the additional free hours of childcare that will be funded by central government from September.”

Coun Mulherin added: “We have maintained our commitment to children’s centres at a time when many other local authorities have closed them.”