Julian Raises Nursery Funding with the Minister
December 1, 2015
Last week in Parliament Julian raised his concerns about the Government’s manifesto commitment to give working parents of three and four-year olds 30 hours of free childcare a week.
Commenting Julian said:
“While I welcome this commitment to double the amount of free childcare already available, I am very aware of the negative impact this could have on nursery providers, as we could see some businesses closing their doors if they are unable to fund this new provision. Therefore I want to ensure the Government implements this policy with providers in mind.”
The Childcare Bill was debated last week and the Government confirmed it will conduct a review into the early years funding formula. This followed on from the Chancellors earlier announcement in the Spending Review where he committed to supporting nurseries deliver these free places by increasing funding for the sector by £300 million.
Speaking in the debate Julian asked:
“Is this new money going to be ring-fenced? I am a bit uncertain about that. I had assumed that it would be ring-fenced specifically so that it could go to nursery providers.”
In response the Minister stated:
“The money for childcare providers is paid to local authorities as part of something called the dedicated school grant, and it is obviously paid for the provision of childcare. This goes back to the point I have just made about transparency. We need to know exactly how much of it is being spent and how much is reaching the frontline. In this case we are talking about childcare providers, but this also applies to the other money that local authorities receive for their education budgets.”
Reflecting on the debate and the Chancellors recent announcement, Julian said:
“While I welcome the extra money being invested into the sector I still do not know how this will translate to York which receives well below the national average at £3.38 per hour. Currently this means providers within my constituency are having to charge inflated fees to parents that either do not qualify for funding or require more hours than the current 15 hours. This simply will not be possible if the Government doubled the entitlement to 30 hours.
“Therefore we need to be sure this funding translates to an meaningful uplift in the amount York receives. I will continue to lobby the Government on this issue and will pay close attention to the further early years funding formula review.”