Business Sustainability Plant growing

Sustainability is a big issue for nursery businesses which often operate to very tight margins. Explore the two significant financial pressures alongside rising utility bills and our guidance below.

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

In April 2016 average nursery pay rolls increased by 11% following the introduction of National Living Wage, and are set to go up by 30% in total as wages continue to rise to 2020 to a projected £9 per hour. NDNA supports the principle of better wages for nursery staff but better Government funding is required to help childcare providers to meet this expense.

From 1 April 2018 these rates are:

  • National Living Wage - increase of 33p or 4.4 % to £7.83 per hour 
  • National Minimum Wage 21-24 year olds - increase of 33p or 4.7 % to £7.38 
  • National Minimum Wage 18-20 year olds - increase of 30p or 5.4 % to £5.90 
  • National Minimum Wage 16-17 year olds - increase of 15p or 3.7 % to £4.20 
  • Apprentice Rate - increase of 20p or 5.7 % to £3.70. 


  • NDNA 'A guide to The Living Wage' factsheet
  • NDNA 'Naming and Shaming' factsheet - ensure you abide by the rules of the National Minimum Wage.

Rising Business Rates

Rising Business Rates, in many cases by 50% or more in England, Scotland and Wales, have put an additional burden on nursery finances.

NDNA is campaigning for 100% exemption from Business Rates for nurseries.

In Scotland, as a result of our campaign, the Scottish Government announced full business rates relief for nursery businesses. Find out more on the business rates page for Scotland below.

In Wales, as a result of campaigning, the Welsh Government will give some nursery businesses rates relief. Find out more on the business rates page for Wales below.