Sam Gyimah to face questions about under-funding from House of Lords committee

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The Select Committee on Affordable Childcare is to question the childcare minister on the underfunding of the free entitlement.

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Lord Sutherland, chair of the committee, is to question the childcare minister on underfunding

During an oral evidence held today, the committee's chair Lord Sutherland said [the committee] will ask the childcare and education minister Sam Gyimah, who is due to give evidence next week, about these issues.

He said that the House of Lords committee has heard from a lot of witnesses about how early education funding does not cover the cost of places for many early years settings.

His comment followed a question by Baroness Tyler to Lena Levy, head of Labour market policy at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), who was giving evidence, about whether their proposals to offer free childcare to all one- to- four-year-olds takes into account the current underfunding of provision for three- and four-year-olds.

The CBI’s proposals to extend early education places to one-year-olds and all two-year-olds were outlined in its ‘A Better Off Britain’ report, launched last week, as a way to reduce the cost of childcare for low-income and working families and boost child development.

Baroness Tyler also mentioned that the committee has heard of early years settings still charging top-up fees.

In response to the question, Ms Levy said she was surprised to hear that nurseries are charging top-up fees, which the Department for Education has previously stated is not allowed.

Just last week, research carried out by the Pre-School Learning Alliance revealed that private, voluntary and independent settings are facing a funding shortfall of up to a fifth in delivering the free places.

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