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With household budgets under pressure, new research reveals that people are turning to grandparents for childcare support

03 September 2013

Grandparents are the lynchpins of most families these days, with a lot of working parents depending on them for childcare and support.

But a survey by Gocompare.com has found that whilst just over half (53%) love the closeness that looking after their grandchildren gives them, 19% said that they sometimes feel taken for granted by their children.

And this isn't surprising, seeing as 63% of grandparents aren't offered a penny for their child-minding services. Of those who do get paid, 40% got just the equivalent of £1 per hour for looking after their grandchildren - with the average payment received coming in at a paltry £3.05 an hour. But it's the government that should foot the childcare bill it seems, with one in four (26%) grandparents saying that the state pension should be increased for those who act as child-minders for their grandchildren.

That said, grandmas and grandpas aren't really in it for the money, as nearly three quarters (72%) said that they enjoyed looking after their grandchildren, although 16% did say that they felt they had no choice, with 22% admitting that looking after the grandchildren was hard work, but that they had to do it to help out their own children.

Gocompare.com's customer insight manager Claire Peate, said: "Childcare costs are crippling some families and it seems that more and more of us are depending on our parents to look after our own children so that we can go to work and make ends meet.

"Just over half (53%) of the grandparents we surveyed said that it's a pity that parents have to work so much, and a quarter (25%) feel that they should be home more.

"But with the cost of bringing up a child rising by 4% this year to £148,000* it's unlikely that parents will be able to spend more time at home anytime soon."

Claire added: "Our survey also found that 17% of grandparents refuse any offer of money from their children for childcare, even though they spend around almost £380 a year on looking after their grandchildren.**

"Juggling childcare and work is difficult for families - but parents have to realise the cost and responsibility they are placing on their own parents. Maybe offering a few pounds here and there would help ease the feelings of obligation so grandparents are happy looking after the kids.

"In April 2011 the Government introduced National Insurance credits for grandparents who don't work and look after a grandchild under 12, which may help them qualify for a full state pension. Call the Department of Work and Pensions National Insurance helpline on 0845 302 1479 to see if you qualify."

-ends-

Notes to editors:

On the 5th of August 2013, OnePoll surveyed 1,000 randomly selected UK grandparents.

*Child Poverty Action Group Cost of a Child report 2013. ** In the survey, respondents said they spent an average of 8.23 hours a week looking after their grandchildren. 8.23 hours = one working day (assuming a 40 hour working week) = 52 days a year. The average daily amount spent by grandparents when looking after their grandchildren is £7.27. 52 days x £7.27 = £378.04.