Kesgrave family move home to cope with 'crippling' cost of living

Dawn Fazackerley-King with her daughters Isla and Maddie

Dawn said she hopes the government will review the childcare system to help the families struggling to stay financially afloat - Credit: Dawn Fazackerley-King

Extortionate childcare costs have forced a family of four to move to Kesgrave to avoid getting into debt and "protect our family's future". 

Mum-of-two Dawn Fazackerley-King, 36, and her husband made the decision to leave behind their home in West Sussex because of the rising cost of living - including monthly childcare costs that often amount to the same as her monthly salary. 

She said: "We already had our eldest daughter and were paying an extortionate amount of money in nursery fees for one child when we found out we were expecting our second.  

"We lived in a four-bedroom semi-detached house near Gatwick Airport, because our jobs had previously dictated that location, but with the arrival of our eldest we changed our working lifestyle and no longer needed to be there.  

"The mortgage was high and we knew we weren't going to be able to cope with the cost of living and nursery fees of two children so we decided to move to avoid getting into debt. We couldn't see any other way." 

"Initially I felt very frustrated, like we'd been forced into this decision because we had children, but now we are settled we feel happy here and don't regret the move.  

"We miss our friends as we grew up there, but it was the right decision to protect our family's future." 

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The family chose Kesgrave because husband Andrew's parents have lived in the area for a few years. 

The cheaper house prices and good schools in the area made the relocation a "no-brainer" - but the worries haven't gone away despite the move. 

Mrs Fazackerley-King works three jobs, all paying minimum wage or slightly above, and her husband works full-time and yet the rising cost of living is "crippling". 

She explained: "Our nursery fees have increased by 6.5% since the start of January. Our energy and water bills have doubled. 

"Obviously there's a general rise in cost of living, food, petrol - yet our wages remain the same.  

"We literally can't do any more, we've already taken drastic action to try to prevent ourselves getting into debt but with ever-increasing outgoings I worry we won't be able to keep our heads above water for much longer without additional help. We already rely on financial help from family to help cover the cost of childcare." 

The mum-of-two thinks that the whole system needs a complete overhaul in order to ensure that parents can go back to work. 

The family does meet the criteria for up to 30 hours of free childcare a week - but it's only available for their eldest daughter, Isla, who is four years old. 

Three days a week for their youngest, two-year-old Maddie, still need to be accounted for in the monthly bills. 

She said: "We do get the 20% tax-free childcare and it's better than nothing, of course, but it's lacking to be able to adequately support parents back into the workforce. 

"Nursery fees are so expensive that even with this help it's a lot to find each month; our fees for nursery are more than our monthly mortgage payments by nearly £200. 

"The monthly bill for January was £670 and I earn £671. 

"And nurseries are all operated differently, because the funding from the government isn't enough for them to manage and there's a shortfall. 

"For example, our nursery charges £11.25 per day for snacks and meals, so we've said we can't afford to pay for her meals and send her in with a packed lunch. 

"Then I feel guilty because her friends are all eating a hot, freshly prepared meal and she's not." 

Mrs Fazackerley-King has considered not working, but feels that children benefit from nursery settings - they learn to socialise and it can help teach them the value of money and having a strong work ethic. 

"There are so many families out there struggling. I'm sure it will be too late to really help me and my family but I hope this will make the government review the system so others can benefit in the future." 

A survey commissioned by the Institute of Directors (IoD) last year prompted calls for a review of the cost and availability of childcare. 

Dr Suzy Walton, a non-executive director of the IoD and mother of seven, said: "Childcare for under-fives in the UK is more expensive than almost anywhere in the world. 

"This is unquestionably a barrier for parents and forces particularly, but not exclusively, mothers out of the workplace. 

"Therefore, let's have the conversation about how the UK can lead not lag on enabling parents to work."