Cost of a nanny soars to nearly £24,000 a year

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The Independent Online

Nannies across the nation saw their salaries ascend like Mary Poppins in the past year.

Nannies across the nation saw their salaries ascend like Mary Poppins in the past year.

A survey has found that a daily nanny in central London now earns just under £24,000 – a year-on-year rise of 8 per cent. Live-in nannies earn less but their average salary of £18,304 (on top of their free board and lodging) represents a hike of 14 per cent. In the Home Counties, the figures are closer to £19,000 and £15,000 respectively, but the general trend is – for harassed parents everywhere – alarmingly upward.

This is the third rise in three years for the buggy-wheeling, jam-spreading, story-reading, tantrum-quelling children's companion, with her relaxed itinerary of shopping, lunching and walks in the park and her network of supportive pals. The modern metropolitan nanny often enjoys extra perks such as the use of a car and mobile phone. Free holidays with the family, and a supplementary income from babysitting, make her yearly income a far more attractive proposition than that of her Victorian counterpart.

The trouble is that fewer and fewer families can afford this costly addition to the household, according to the survey, which was commissioned by the payroll service Nannytax and published in the new issue of Nursery World. The magazine, which talked to 96 nanny agencies around the country, states that many mothers are discouraged from returning to work after giving birth simply because they cannot afford to pay for child care.

A working mother now needs to earn at least £35,000 to be able to afford a nanny at all, leaving no disposable earnings for herself. She must also pay the nanny's tax and national insurance contributions. The result has been a sharp rise in part-time nanny jobs and "nanny-share" compromises.

It seems that the full-time Queen of the Nursery, in her starched pinny and her repertoire of enraging bromides ("What's for tea, nanny?" "Wait-and-see Pudding with Patience Sauce") may soon be as outdated as perambulators in Hyde Park.