LAs anticipate closure of providers following Covid funding
New research from Coram Family and Childcare reveals that over half (58%) of local authorities in England believe local childcare providers will permanently close as a result of COVID-19 support being withdrawn.
Other findings from the briefing include:
- A quarter (26%) of local authorities say they expect to see providers reduce the number of free early education entitlement places they offer
- The majority of local authorities report they have not yet seen an increase in childcare shortages, this could be due to the fact that 73% have seen a decrease in demand from families over the pandemic
- Figures showing that 39% seeing childcare providers have raised their prices and 30% have seen providers increase the number of children looked after by each staff member.
The Government has confirmed that funding arranged to support the childcare sector during the pandemic will end in January.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “This is really heartbreaking for families and childcare providers.
“For early years providers, who have done everything asked of them, the fact that the Government won’t even continue with funding at pre-Covid levels shows a total lack of disregard for their hard work and dedication over the last year.
“Nurseries have been the fourth emergency service, allowing parents to work, aiding our economic recovery and most importantly supporting children with their development and wellbeing. They must be properly supported to enable them to continue doing their crucial, fantastic work.
“Until attendance at nursery resumes its usual levels, providers will be struggling to manage their higher operating costs and many just won’t survive.
“Children are impacted the most during this pandemic, in particular vulnerable and disadvantaged children. That the Government decision to remove funding at pre-Covid levels will adversely affect these children the most is truly shocking. Sector needs urgent funding support for settings to remain sustainable.”
Megan Jarvie, Head of Coram Family and Childcare, said: “The ending of additional Government support for childcare is going to be a blow for many childcare providers and the families who depend on them. We all rely on the childcare sector to support the learning and development of children and to enable parents to work. There are already signs of the pressure on childcare providers - a third of local areas already report an increase in nursery closures and shortages are increasing in some areas. It is vital that the sector is supported so that every family can find the high quality childcare they need.”
Read the full briefing here.