THE cost of childcare has been revealed for the first time by the Department for Education.

On average, for two, three and four-year-olds, childcare costs £ 5.25 an hour in Brighton and Hove and the rest of East Sussex.

Across the South East the most expensive childcare for three and four-year-olds was in Windsor and Maidenhead, where the average figure was £6.50. In West Sussex the average is £5.

The Isle of Wight, Medway and Southampton were the cheapest at £4.25 per hour.

Every three and four-year-old gets 15 hours of free childcare a week and 30 hours for those with parents who both earn the equivalent of 16 hours at the minimum wage.

Two-year-olds with parents who receive welfare benefits also receive 15 hours free childcare a week.

Gingerbread, a charity which supports single parents, called on the Government to increase its 30-hour offer to those in education, training and on zero hour contracts.

Dalia Ben-Galim, the charity’s director of policy, said: “Thousands of single parents are currently locked out of work due to unaffordable childcare.

“Gingerbread’s research shows that some single parents spend roughly half their take-home pay on a nursery place and they consistently tell us that it doesn’t always pay to work.

“Gingerbread is calling for the Government to change eligibility criteria for its flagship 30-hours offer for three and four-year-olds to cover those in education, training and on zero-hour contracts.

“This would go some way in reducing some of the barriers that are blocking single parents from entering high quality, secure employment.”

Across England the average cost for three and four-year-olds was £4.92. The most expensive place was Westminster at £8.50 an hour and the cheapest was North Tyneside at £3.50 an hour.

Neil Leitch, of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, called on Government to put more funding into childcare.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We want every child to have the best start in life, with access to high-quality childcare and early years education.”