RAISING a child in Yorkshire, from birth to the age of 21, now costs £214,559 - raising calls for the Government to put helping disadvantaged families at the forefront of its agenda.
The figure is over 50 per cent more than the average house price in Yorkshire, which last month stood at £141,507.
The report, complied by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for LV=, found the costs of raising a child in the region had grown by almost £1,000 in the last 12 months, with the most expensive years between the ages of one and four, when the cost of childcare and babysitting adds to the financial strain. Parents typically spend £63,224 during these years.
Childcare costs increased by the most over the last year (4.3 per cent), making it the second biggest expense after education.
The charity Action for Children, which runs some children’s centre and support services in Yorkshire, said parents were struggling to mange during these “peaks” of expense during a children’s early years. It urged parents to seek help before “spiralling into significant debt”.
John Egan, the charity’s director of children’s services, said: “We regularly see how many parents struggle to make their money last from month to month, or even day to day, which is a reminder of the challenging financial situation many families across Yorkshire and the rest of the UK face every day, many with lower incomes than before the recession.
“The Government must consider family income at the forefront of its agenda to ensure the most disadvantaged are supported within the current economic environment.”
The report showed the annual cost of raising a child now takes up more than a third of the average UK household income, with six in ten parents admitting they are struggling to manage their outgoings.
The cost of raising a child varies throughout the UK, from the highest being £253,638 in London, to the lowest in Yorkshire, where it was almost £40,000 cheaper.
Jane Blackwood, who is expecting her second child, moved with her husband from St Albans to York three weeks ago as childcare costs in the south for two-year-old Polly were soaring.
She said: “Childcare costs were almost double what we pay here, £1,300 a month. As a woman, it was depressing to think almost all your wage was going on childcare - with a second baby in nursery I’d be effectively earning nothing. Down south we lived in a two bed terrace but here we’re able to afford a four bedroom house, and are much closer to family.”
The report also showed that almost half (49 per cent) of parents don’t have a plan in place if the main breadwinner were to lose their income due to accident or illness.
Myles Rix, of LV= urged parents to guard against a sudden loss of income. He added: “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.”