Petition to scrap business rates launched ahead of budget
National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) is urging members, parents and the general public to support a petition calling on the new government to scrap business rates for nurseries in England.
The petition was started today by NDNA member Debbie Moliterno of Cheeky Monkeys Day nurseries.
Unlike schools and local authority buildings, nurseries have to pay business rates despite delivering the early years curriculum in the same way. These rates increase costs for the business, make childcare more expensive for parents and take Government funding away from the children it is intended to support.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “It’s extremely important that people get behind and push this petition ahead of the budget on 11 March so the government can have no doubts about the strength of feeling on this issue.
“It is imperative that the sector raises its collective voice. We have achieved 10,000 signatures before and the more we get, the more powerful we are.
“It is great to see our members get straight off the mark launching this petition, which goes to show how important this issue is for the sector and the impact it is having on the outcomes our members are trying to deliver for children.
“At the last election we campaigned for action on business rates and the government committed to review them and reduce the burden. Now is the time for them to act on this and the Budget is the next chance for them to follow through on this pledge.
“It is time they listened to those in the childcare sector before it is too late. This time round let’s get to 100,000 signatures. Please encourage everyone to sign this petition.”
NDNA has been proactive in sending various key points to the chancellor ahead of the March budget. The budget submission details the three urgent steps to get it right for early years:
- The right funding for childcare places
- Zero business rates for nurseries in England
- A single childcare account for parents.
Debbie Moliterno, owner of Cheeky Monkeys, said: “I have owned day nurseries for 29 years. As we approach the end of each month I worry if I’m going to be able to meet outgoings because of the business rates burden.
“I love what I do but not sure how much longer I will be able to stand it. If nurseries in Scotland and Wales have been made exempt then so should we.
“I’m not going to stop until this has been applied. It’s just ridiculous and something needs to be done fast.
“The business rates burden contributes to 150 quality nurseries being forced to close weekly. Stop strangling us. We can’t be classed as a private enterprise when we are ruled by the government.”
The deadline for the petition is 5 September 2020.
In answer to a recent Parliamentary Question on the impact of business rates on childcare providers, the Treasury Minister Jesse Norman promised that the Government would be reviewing the policy.
A total of 10,000 signatures are required for a government response, if 100,000 signatures are collected the topic could receive a full debate in Parliament. You can sign it here.
Debbie started a similar petition in September 2019 but the petition website was temporarily closed because of the general election. The site has now relaunched but all previous petitions have been annulled.
Another petition set up by NDNA member Victoria Whitty to make nurseries exempt from business rates and zero VAT rated reached just under 11,000 signatures in 2018.
The Government response to Victoria’s petition was disappointing as it did not recognise the challenges facing the sector and there was no promise of any respite for nurseries.
Sign the petition here.