The cost of a nursery place has almost doubled over the last decade, and parents are struggling to cope with soaring fees, childcare charities have warned.

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A report by the Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute found the typical cost per hour for a nursery place for a child aged under two has risen by 77% since 2003 to reach £4.26, while wages have stagnated

Imogen Catchpole, co-chairman of the Ipswich & East Suffolk NCT branch, agreed that parents do find childcare a challenge. She said: “While the NCT does not hold an official position on the rising cost of nursery provision, as parents ourselves, we do recognise that this can present a real challenge for parents, trying to juggle the demands and costs of busy lives, along with work and other commitments.

“We try to assist local parents as much as possible with postnatal services, advice and support.”

The average weekly cost of a part-time nursery placement for a child aged under two years old in the East of England is £106, which is the national average.

Julie Bullivant, director of nursery services for nurseries including Spitfires in Ravenswood, Treehouse in Clapgate Lane, Bluebells in Bond Street and The Oaks in Felixstowe, said their prices have remained competitive. The cost for a part-time nursery place for an under two-year-old is £97.50.

She added: “We have tried to keep our prices down as much as possible. I would not say ours has doubled in the last ten years. It has only really gone up a bit to cover everyday costs and staff wages.”

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