30 Hours of free childcare put on hold until they find a sustainable funding solution

The House of Lords has voted on the new Childcare Bill with the vote ending in favour of the the Government amending the bill, the vote ended 222-209. The Government need to carry out a comprehensive funding review and put in place a ‘comprehensive and sustainable funding solution’ before rolling out the 30-hour childcare pledge. the vote ended 222-209.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, expressed his delight over the 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.

“While the Alliance recognises that the 30-hour offer will be welcomed by many families currently struggling with the cost of childcare, without adequate, sustainable funding, the scheme simply isn’t feasible. Only last year, the childcare minister said that Labour’s 25-hour childcare pledge would cost ‘£1.5bn, at least’ – to cost their own 30 hour proposal at less than half this amount, therefore, is unjustifiable.”

He added: “It is imperative, now, that this clause remains part of the bill as it continues its journey through Parliament.

“Up until this point, the Government’s funding review has been disjointed, rushed and unfocused, with many of the conclusions drawn so far – such as the fact that most parents would use the additional hours, or that staff costs make up the majority of provider expenditure – both obvious and unhelpful. The Government should now commit to undertaking a full, in-depth review of childcare funding, ensuring that a credible, sustainable solution to underfunding is put in place before the plans are rolled out.”

30 hours free childcare had planned to be rolled out in 2017 and played a big part in the Governments election campaign.

After the Summer Budget earlier this year, the Treasury released costs of the 30-hour pledge at £365m in 2017/2018 and £670m in 2020/21.

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