Childcare providers fight for better funding levels

12th October 2017

A House of Commons debate on the ‘effect of the 30 hours childcare funding’ is to take place today.

The shadow minister for early years, Tracy Brabin, has confirmed that she will be attending the debate, along with the Pre-School Learning Alliance, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), and members of the Champagne Nurseries, Lemonade Funding campaign group.

Ms Brabin said, ‘Thursday’s debate gives us a great opportunity to hear from Minister Goodwill about how the 30 hours roll-out is going from the Government’s perspective.

‘I have a list of concerns I’d like him to respond to, including the impact of levels of funding, the children not in a place and the discrepancies from local authority to local authority.

The team from Champagne Nurseries on Lemonade Funding (CNLF) will be attending Westminster to lobby the Minister of State for Children and Families, Robert Goodwill.

Not everybody who goes in support will be able to attend inside the Houses of Parliament but will meet afterwards at the very aptly named ‘Sanctuary’ pub where they hope to arrive at approximately 4.30pm after the debate.

Team CNLF and about 12 others will be there at the

Sanctuary Pub & Hotel
33 Tothill Street,

Formby childcare provider Catherine Regan from Pine Pixies Pre-School said

“The government are paying providers short. The amount providers are being paid per hour, per child is not enough to deliver high quality sustainable childcare and many settings across the country have already closed their doors. Childcare providers across the country from all types of settings, including nannies and childminders are strongly united in this fight for fairer funding to ensure their sustainability. Providers are refusing to allow the words ‘Free Funding’ on their literature, as it is not free when the very providers delivering this funded childcare are having to subsidise it themselves.”

Hopefully, the debate today will make politicians see the problem providers face and make immediate changes to save more providers becoming unsustainable. The impact that the low funding levels are having on childcare as a whole is immense. The government are a disgrace in allowing the 30 hours childcare to be rolled out when it has not been organised properly for the good of all involved.

Catherine Regan owner of Pine Pixies Pre-School in Formby recently wrote to Cllr Nina Killen, Parliamentary Researcher, Bill Esterson MP (Sefton Central) on the subject of funding, this was Nina Killen’s reply.

“Labour introduced free childcare hours for parents, which were fully funded and resourced. Under the Conservatives, the free hours entitlement is chronically under-funded, with provision patchy and hard to navigate. Many providers now simply refuse to participate in the scheme. The result is that many parents aren’t even getting the hours they’re entitled to. Labour would: 1. Overhaul the existing childcare system in which subsidies are given directly to parents who often struggle to use them, and transition to a system of high-quality childcare places in mixed environments with direct government subsidy. 2. Maintain current commitments on free hours and make significant capital investment during our first two years of government, to ensure that the places exist to meet demand. 3. Phase in subsidised provision on top of free-hour entitlements, to ensure that everyone has access to affordable childcare, no matter their working pattern. 4. Transition to a qualified, graduate-led workforce, by increasing staff wages and enhancing training opportunities. This will benefit staff, who are among our worst-paid workers, and improve child development. 5. Extend the 30 free hours to all two-year-olds, and move towards making some childcare available for one-year-olds and extending maternity pay to 12 months.”

Catherine also wrote to the Southport MP Damien Moore and this was his response to the current crisis.

“To address your question regarding childcare funding, I can assure you that more support is being provided to families through record investment in childcare, rising from £5 billion to £6 billion by 2020. I hope that this, along with tax-free childcare, will make a real different to millions of hardworking families.The Education Secretary has set out her plans to reform the way in which early years providers are funded, ensuring a much better deal for nurseries, preschools and childminders. The changes will create a fairer system that better provides the affordable, high-quality childcare families deserve.

I welcome that 93 per cent of early years providers are now rated as good or outstanding. Improving the quality of these providers and the skill of those who work with children is a top priority, and I know that Ministers continue to work hard to drive these standards higher still.”

Left, Bill Esterson MP and Damien Moore MP

Catherine said

“Damien Moore has I believe misunderstood the reasons for providers’ concerns. He is only seeing in his response the side of the families, but the families cannot have this childcare if there are no settings left to provide it due to the current under-funding crisis. ”

Catherine would like to extend an invitation for these MPs to visit her setting and discuss the concerns she and others across the country are facing.  UK childcare is in deep crisis and it is up to politicians such as these above to get the problem sorted fast.

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