Child-raising costs 'increased 15%'

The cost of raising a pre-secondary school child has risen to more than £90,000, according to new figures.

The average annual cost of raising a child up to the age of 11 in Britain has increased by £1,085 in the last five years, up 15% from £7,222 in 2007 to £8,307 in 2011, the study by Halifax suggests.

Inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index rose by 18% over the same period, with parents spending just under a fifth (18%) of their income on bringing up their child.

Schooling made up the largest increase in spending, including money spent on uniforms, class materials, school trips and lunches, which are estimated to have increased by 24% from £684 a year in 2007 to £849 in 2012, the building society said.

The costs of nursery and childminding accounted for the second largest increase, which have grown by 22% to £3,346 in 2011. This typically accounted for 40% of the total annual expenditure incurred by parents when raising their offspring, while the nursery and childminding combined with schooling accounted for half of the total annual expenditure.

Spending on food and holidays fell in real terms with parents spending £889 feeding their children in 2011, an increase of 14% from £780 in 2007, while spending on children's holidays rose by 16% to £740 during the same period.

Spending on children's clothing fell by from £602 in 2007 to £513 in 2011, or 15%. However "heavy discounting" among retailers to cope with the economic downturn could have had an impact on the figures, the report said.

Halifax said annual growth in spending by parents on their children had slowed since the UK's "weak recovery" from the 2008-2009 recession to 3% in 2011, a fall in real terms as inflation grew by 5.2% between 2010 and 2011.

Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: "The cost of raising a child under the age of 11 has increased by 15% over the past five years. This has added to the already considerable strain on household finances during the economic downturn.

"Childcare costs and education account for half, or £4,200, of the total annual cost of raising a child. This is a substantial sum for most households, so it pays to ensure sound financial planning when you are looking to start a family."