In just one year the cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 21 has risen by almost £2,000, taking the total to nearly £230,000.

For families living in the East of England, the average cost of raising a child is now £238,858, up from £236,879 in 2014.

The first year of a baby’s life alone now amounts to a staggering national average of £11,224, an increase of 1.8% in the past twelve months.

Data from the Centre of Economic and Business Research, compiled on behalf of insurer LV=, has revealed that two of the biggest expenses for parents are education and childcare.

Education costs mums and dads a typical £74,319 – and this doesn’t include expensive private school fees. This figure represents everyday expenditures such as lunch money, uniforms and school trips as well as university fees and living costs, and has risen by 128% since 2013.

Childcare and babysitting were found to amount to a spending of £67,500 per child over 21 years, demonstrating an increase of 2.2% since 2014 and 70% since 2013.

Out of all the various costs to parents, such as holidays, toys and food, only spending on clothing was found to have dropped since the first report in 2003.

Commenting on the report, Myles Rix, a managing director at LV=, said: “The cost of childcare (nurseries, babysitting and after-school care) in particular has seen the most dramatic increase over the last 12 months, rising by £1,473 to reach £67,586.

“The cost of childcare differs drastically across the UK from a high of £81,276 in London compared to £61,397 in Yorkshire and Humberside. Although this is a significant difference, it is clear that the cost of childcare is quite considerable.

“As a result, the early years of a child’s life are the most expensive for parents. Parents with children aged under three can expect to spend more than a quarter (27%) of their household income on nursery costs.

“Again, this differs up and down the country with parents in the North East paying almost a third (31%) of their average household income while London parents pay a quarter (25%) of their combined pay.”

Fiona Weir, chief executive of single parent charity Gingerbread, said single parents were most at risk of living in working poverty as costs continue to rise.

“This research underlines the urgent need to bring forward much needed support with childcare costs,” she said. “Ensuring in- and out-of-work benefits keep pace with the cost of essentials would also help families struggling to make ends meet.”

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