Lib Dem leader gives backing to Champagne Nurseries campaign

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Champagne Nurseries, Lemonade Funding campaign group has secured the support of Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

Mr Farron committed his support to the campaign, which is calling on the Government to stop referring to the 30 hours as ‘free’ childcare, in a chance encounter with one of the founders of the campaign group, Donna-Marie Row, who owns Yorley Barn Nursery School in Suffolk.

During a trip to London on the weekend, Ms Row bumped into the political party leader in Lambeth and took the opportunity to explain to him how under the 30 hours scheme, many nurseries will be operating at a loss because o f the ‘gross’ shortfall in Government funding, which she warned is putting the future operating of childcare providers in jeopardy.

Ms Row used her own nursery as an example, explaining that she charges parents £5.28 per hour, but receives just £3.87 in Government funding and can’t legally charge a top-up fee.

Mr Farron recognised that under the scheme she will be operating at a loss and said he would 'definitely support' the Champagne Nurseries, Lemonade Funding (CNLF) campaign.

Reacting to the chance encounter, footage of which has been posted on social media, members of the CNLF group praised Ms Row for ‘standing up for the sector’.

CNLF spokesperson Jo Morris said, 'This was a fantastic opportunity to spread awareness of the problem that the under-funding will cause, the campaign is about spreading awareness and this has done just that.

'CNLF has consistently called for a change in the legislation, we need this funding to be a subsidy, not a 'free' place, we will not waver from our calls for this and we look forward to seeing what the Liberal Democrats can do to challenge the Government on this vital issue.'

The Liberal Democrats have been contacted for a response.

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