Prime Minister Gordon Brown has given families across the country an early Christmas present by reversing plans to remove tax relief from childcare vouchers (see page 4).
This was always an ill-considered proposal, which apparently took most ministers and MPs by surprise and was then duly condemned by many of them. The savings would not have made a substantial contribution to the costs of providing free nursery places for two-year-olds in deprived areas.
Meanwhile, the abolition of tax relief on the vouchers would have meant that they were effectively worthless, destroying all the voucher businesses built with the encouragement of the Government.
Early years settings would have been hit very hard, with many parents relying on vouchers to afford childcare. One nursery owner said that of around 150 families using her service, 147 were in receipt of vouchers. And this is not in a wealthy area, but parents who are struggling to manage their finances. Nurseries also treading a fine line between profitability and loss could have been tipped into disaster.
Now galloping over the horizon is the Early Years Single Funding Formula, with more potential to trample on the sustainability of settings. The education select committee is examining the EYSFF, and the Government revisiting the funding models, so keep your fingers crossed.
NURSERY WORLD SHOW 2010
We hope to see as many readers as possible at the Nursery World Show 2010 in Islington's Business Design Centre on 22 and 23 January. Fantastic seminar speakers, the best early years resources, live demonstrations and enabling environments - see pages 15-18.