Free childcare demand stretches nurseries

The BBC is reporting that nurseries are warning of the high-demand for a free childcare scheme that may mean many could go out of business.

A pilot scheme in England that allows parents to claim free childcare for three and four-year-olds has seen take-up rates of over 80%. Nurseries say rising staff costs and inflation will force many providers to close.

The government says it is investing a “record £6bn in childcare”. The Conservatives’ promise to double the amount of free childcare that parents in England can claim has proved very popular in pilot areas.

Nursery providers are concerned that the money being offered by the government to provide the service will not cover the rising costs of looking after the children. “We’ll go bust under the current proposals,” says Josy Thompson, a nursery owner.

Providers in the North Yorkshire town say the cost of providing the care is £4.50 an hour per child, but that the government subsidy will only cover £3.40 of that.

“It’s great that so many parents want to take advantage of this scheme but the government has got to listen to people on the frontline” says Clare Schofield from the National Day Nurseries Association.

More at: Free childcare demand stretches nurseries

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