The new 30hrs childcare offer has been put on hold until funding is put in place
There has been a vote in the House of Lords for a new childcare Bill clause; this has arisen due to the government’s offer of the 30hrs free childcare. However it has now been put on hold until the government carry out a funding review and put in place a sustainable funding solution.
Labour peer, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch said there was a lack of detail in the Bill over how the extra places will be funded, adding: said: “There are real questions about how these new places are to be funded and what will happen if they aren’t fully funded.”
Many childcare providers are left not knowing whether this funding offer is going to leave them in financial difficulties.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, expressed his delight over the peers’ recognition of the financial struggles of nurseries and their concerns over the extension of the free childcare for three and four-year-olds.
He said: “We are delighted that that the House of Lords has listened to the concerns of the early years sector and made this vital amendment to the Childcare Bill.
The extension of the free childcare will help many families who are struggling with the cost of childcare, however for childcare providers without the sustainable funding the scheme isn’t going to work for many nurseries.
For many people it has been seen that this 30hrs childcare scheme has been rushed and childcare providers have not been informed of any decisions of how this is going to work. Therefore the decision to put it on hold until the government carry out a funding review can only be seen as a good decision. The government must work with the sector to come up with a solution that benefits both the childcare providers and the parents accessing the funding.
The 30hrs childcare offer was due to be implemented in 2017 however some settings are starting to offer it this year.