The government's offer of 30 hours free childcare for working parents has been rolled out across the UK. The government says the offer should save families around £5,000 per year on childcare. Around 390,000 working families are eligible to benefit.
Findings from an independent evaluation of the early rollout of 30 hours’ free childcare found eight out of ten childcare providers were willing and able to double their current 15 hours offer.
However, a Pre-school Learning Alliance
survey found almost three-quarters of childcare providers believe the funding levels for the 30-hours offer do not cover the cost of providing a place. The survey also found:
- 49% planned to increase how much they charge for additional, non-funded hours in order to make-up the shortfall;
- 52% said that they would increase the cost of other services, such as food or trips out; and
- 38% didn’t think their setting would be sustainable in 12 months time.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said:
‘We cannot wait for this problem to solve itself. Every week we’re hearing of more and more parents struggling to find places that actually suit their childcare needs. Every week we’re hearing of more and more childcare providers being forced to shut down as a result of the 30 hours. This simply cannot continue.’