Children's minister insists no need for 30 hours protection for nurseries

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that ‘no nursery needs protecting’ from closure as a result of the 30 hours.

The comment was made in response to a Parliamentary question from Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, asking what steps the education secretary is taking to protect nurseries from closing due to the introduction of the 30 hours.

In response, Mr Zahawi said, ‘No nursery needs protecting from the introduction of 30 hours free childcare as providers don’t have to offer places if it doesn’t work with their business model. In fact, evidence from the evaluation of early delivery of 30 hours free childcare found that the majority of providers already delivery early years entitlements were willing and able to deliver 30 hours free childcare.’

He added that the rates passed on to local authorities are based on a Department for Education review of childcare costs carried out by the National Audit Office and that they continue to monitor delivery costs, including commissioning new research on costs data.

The children and families minister went on to say that the Government is encouraging providers to take advantage of free business support through Childcare Works, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), Pre-School Learning Alliance and the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY).

Last week, Nursery World reported that a growing number of settings up and down the country are closing or expect to close due to financial difficulties exacerbated by the introduction of the 30 hours. The NDNA said it had seen a 47 per cent increase in member closures between September 207 and May 2018 compared to the same period the previous year.

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