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Cost of raising a child rises to £218,000

The typical cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has risen to £218,000, with education, childcare and food making the biggest dents in parents' budgets, a report has found.

Parents spend around £10,382 a year, £865 a month and £28.44 a day on their child's upbringing, insurer and retirement specialist LV= said in its Cost of a Child study, as it warned that families were unlikely to see the pressure ease in the near future.

The overall bill has increased by 55%, from £140,000 since the report was first published in 2003, and the latest figure is also a 3.3% rise on last year's total of £211,113.

Family budgets have come under intense pressure due to high living costs and deteriorating employment conditions, while consumers' savings are failing to make real returns.

Spending on education, including school uniforms, after school clubs and university tuition fees, has seen the biggest rise from last year, with a 5.1% increase, and is also the biggest financial pressure for parents, at a cost of £71,780.

Childcare and babysitting costs amount to £62,099, making up the second biggest total bill for parents, a 2.7% rise on last year.

Total food costs have shot up by 4% in a year, amounting to £18,667, while parents also shell out more than £4,000 in pocket money.

Mark Jones, LV= head of protection, said: "With the coalition Government cutting back on benefits and local services, and with university tuition fees set to rocket, the costs associated with raising a family look set to remain a pressure point for families across the UK."

Children become their most expensive during the university years, between the ages of 18 to 21, when parents spend £17,459 a year on them, a 5% rise on last year.

Many parents plan to share the cost of university with their children, with 15% saying their youngsters will need to part-fund university themselves.

Spending in some areas has been cut, with hobbies and toys costing £9,248, a 4.6% drop on a year ago, while leisure and recreation has also seen a 0.6% decrease, to total £7,303.

LV= found that more than three-quarters of parents were trying to find ways to cut back on their spending, with many buying "value" goods in their weekly shop and selling off their possessions on websites such as eBay.

London is the most expensive place in the UK to raise a child, costing nearly £240,000, while the North East is the cheapest, at around £202,000.

The report was compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and also includes a study of 2,119 UK adults.

Here is how much parents spend throughout their child's early life according to the latest report:

  • First year, £10,261 a year
  • Years one to four, £14,140 a year
  • Years five to 10, £7,679 a year
  • Years 11 to 17, £7,536 a year
  • Years 18 to 21, £17,459 a year

And here is how the costs mount up from birth to 21 and the percentage differences from last year:

  • Education, £71,780, 5.1% (does not include private school fees)
  • Childcare and babysitting, £62,099, 2.7%
  • Food, £18,667, 4%
  • Clothing, £10,781, 3.7%
  • Holidays, £15,532, 1.6%
  • Hobbies and toys, £9,248, -4.6%
  • Leisure and recreation, £7,303, -0.6%
  • Pocket money, £4,337, 4.8%
  • Furniture, £3,373, 2.5%
  • Personal care, £1,143, 2.6%
  • Other (driving lessons, first car, Christmas presents etc) £13,761, 4.8%

Total: £218,024, 3.3%

Here is how the cost of raising a child varies around the UK:

  • North East, £202,383
  • North West, £211,022
  • Yorkshire and Humberside, £208,839
  • East Midlands, £213,538
  • West Midlands, £223,624
  • East of England, £228,685
  • London, £234,263
  • Outer London, £239,535
  • Inner London, £228,989
  • South East, £232,450
  • South West, £223,687
  • England, £218,558
  • Wales, £202,931
  • Scotland, £220,857
  • Northern Ireland, £228,363

Belfast Telegraph