Government pledges £55m for early years

11 Apr 17

Early years childcare services will receive an additional £50m in capital grants, the government has announced today.

Whitehall said the investment would deliver an extra 9,000 childcare places ready for 30 hours free childcare for working families with three and four year olds from September.

The cash injection follows an earlier allocation of £50m in January – doubling the total spend to £100m.

An extra £5m has also been directed to organisations that are helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds or with additional needs to access high-quality early education.

Minister for the early years Caroline Dinenage said: “As part of our Plan for Britain we want to make this a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few, so that means removing the barriers facing parents struggling to balance their jobs with the cost of childcare.

“This investment will deliver more childcare places to working parents, giving them the benefits of 30 hours’ free childcare while giving their children high-quality early education that sets them up for life."

But Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner criticised the government for failing to have their flagship childcare policy ready at this stage.

“Parents and providers will rightly be asking why this policy still isn’t ready with only a few months to go until the roll-out of the 30 hours offer,” she said.

Working parents are currently able to claim 15 hours free childcare for three and four year olds. The plans to increase this by 15 hours was included in the Queen’s Speech in 2015.

In 2015, think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research claimed the policy could be unfunded by as much as £1bn. This could lead to lower quality provision with poorer outcomes for children, it claimed.

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