Childcare Counsel: furlough and funding


Andrew Manners, director, Morgan LaRoche, on furlough and funding

Andrew Manners
Andrew Manners

What does the latest guidance on the furlough scheme mean for how much I can claim?

The latest update to HMRC guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) imposes caveats on what early years settings can claim for. Providers can only access the CJRS now subject to certain conditions, and to cover the proportion of their paybill which would have been paid for from private income.

HMRC guidance, however, does acknowledge the CJRS scheme may be appropriate for ‘organisations which are not primarily funded by the Government and whose staff cannot be redeployed to assist with the coronavirus response’. The devil is always in the detail and further guidance is awaited from both the Treasury and DfE, but it could be argued that the 30 hours funding is meant to contribute to the entire cost of delivering childcare at the setting, i.e. not just staff wages.

Subject to any further guidance or clarification, the risk is that if providers do not follow this guidance of seeking CJRS support based only on the ‘private’ proportion of their income, they could face a recoupment later on and possibly other sanctions by HMRC.

Can councils refuse to fund children who are moving due to their setting closing over Covid-19?

The DfE guidance was updated on 21st April to reflect a clear expectation by the government that if a vulnerable/key worker child has to move settings, the funding follows the child. The guidance now says that councils will be able to redistribute the money in exceptional cases ‘in a clearly focused and targeted way – in order to secure childcare for the children of critical workers and for vulnerable children, where their usual arrangements are no longer possible’.

The guidance also says ‘any setting which sees their early entitlement funding reduced in order to fund childcare places elsewhere will be able to increase the proportion of their salary bill eligible for the CJRS’.

Further information: https://bit.ly/2VtqRZc

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