The cost of children
"The cost of children" - overview and summary
Categories of expenditure on children
Results from the "Small Fortunes" research
Results from the Family Budget Unit
Results from "The Costs of Children and the Welfare State"
Results from "Measuring the Cost of Children: Estimates for Britain"
Results from "1999-2000 Family Expenditure Survey"
Results from "Pregnancy & birth" magazine, March 2001
What the government is prepared to pay for children in benefits & tax credits
The "cost of children" references
The cost of children in other nations
A related topic - sharing the wealth of the parents
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Results from the Family Budget Unit

What is the Family Budget Unit?

The Family Budget Unit is a unit of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at King's College London. It is an educational charity and private limited company, founded in 1987, with three objectives:

  1. To advance the education of the public in all matters relating to comparative living standards and living costs throughout the United Kingdom
  2. To carry out research into the economic requirements and consumer preferences of families of different composition, for each main component of a typical family budget
  3. To publish the useful results of such work.

Apart from the many academics who contribute to the work of the Unit (see the referenced web sites), there are (at least) 2 notable names which appear elsewhere on this web site:

  • Archy Kirkwood (Chairman of the House of Commons Social Security Select Committee, now Work and Pensions Select Committee): Director (unpaid), Family Budget Unit.
  • Jonathan Bradshaw (Professor of Social Policy, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York): Trustee, Family Budget Unit.

The cost of children at LCA level

This table summarises the cost of children at LCA level - "Low Cost but Acceptable", defined as the poverty threshold. Summary including childcare at registered childminders. (October 2000. Amounts in £ per week).

"The LCA food baskets represent a pattern of consumption characteristic of households on low incomes in the UK, and are based on National Food Survey and Family Expenditure Survey data. They contain a balance of foods which will promote short- and long-term health in adults and children. They are based on Department of Health and Health Education Authority guidelines. And they refer to foods which are widely available, at low prices, using Sainsbury and KwikSave national price bases. It includes: Food, Housing, Clothing, Fuel, Personal care, Transport, Charitable donations, Household services, Leisure."

  Living Costs Childminding costs Total costs
Child week Hours week week
Girl aged 4 years 27.74 none 0 27.74
Girl aged 4 years 27.74 29.3 64.21 91.95
Girl aged 4 years 27.74 13.4 29.3 57.04
Boy aged 10 years 36.6 none 0 36.6
Boy aged 10 years 36.6 11.5 25.13 61.73
Boy aged 10 years 26.6 3.2 7.09 43.69
Boy aged 16 years 55.94 none 0 55.94
  Childminding costs are based on an average hourly childminding charge (rounded) of £2.20


The Family Budget Unit submitted a major appendix to the Social Security Select Committee for the latter's report on the Integrated Child Credit.

APPENDIX 7 - Memorandum submitted by the Family Budget Unit (ICC 16)

(This comprised an introduction plus 2 "figures" and 8 "annexes", in all over 20 A4 pages).

Page last updated: 7 July, 2004 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003