More than half of the local authorities surveyed by Family and Childcare Trust (FACT) are unsure they will have enough availability to double funded hours.
Today's report "No shortcuts: quality and the free childcare extension
" raises a number of concerns about increasing funded childcare to 30 hours, including fees for paid-for hours expected to go up, fears over underfunding and sustainability.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, NDNA's Chief Executive, said: “It’s clear that there remains a lot of uncertainty among local authorities, not just providers, about delivering 30 hours, particularly whether there will be sufficient places.
“Almost half of local authorities surveyed – 44% - expected reduced financial viability for their providers, with a further 9% unsure, echoed today by the Local Government Authority. We have repeatedly raised awareness of the very real fears our members have that they can’t deliver this increased free entitlement and balance their books, which in turn threatens the whole policy.
“FACT’s recommendations, particularly the annual funding review so that funds increase in line with costs, reflect NDNA’s own evidence and concerns we have highlighted to Government. We have repeatedly called on Government to give nurseries more flexibility in delivering 30 hours, including allowing them to make mandatory charge for extras such as meals and activities.”
Read the report in full here