Alliance comments on Work and Pensions committee's damning report on UC and childcare

Commenting on the Work and Pensions comittee's report, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance said: 

"We understand the frustration of the Work and Pensions Committee as the government continues to ignore the serious consequences of a childcare system that is underfunded and is simply not working for those who most need it. The government’s own research found that the 30-hours offer was "not completely flexible or free for all parents with ‘substantial proportions’ reporting that there were some restrictions on when they could use the hours (48%) or that they had to pay charges for additional items or activities (56%).” 

"We know providers now have no choice but to introduce voluntary charges or ask parents to pay more for their non-funded places. So it’s inevitable that providers who are struggling to stay afloat will prioritise parents who can afford these charges. This means there is a danger that the 15% of costs that Universal Credit claimants have to contribute will soon be out of kilter with low incomes as non-funded hourly childcare rates continue to rise. 

"The Committee is absolutely right to say it is ‘unacceptable’ that the poorest households are struggling with childcare costs while the government continues to subsidise households earning up to £200,000. Whether or not government changes the eligibility criteria for these funded hours, they need  to ensure funding covers the true cost of delivering them and that providers are not reliant on parents paying voluntary charges to pick up the shortfall." 

 

ENDS

 

About the Alliance

  • The Early Years Alliance (formerly the Pre-school Learning Alliance) is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. A registered educational charity, it also provides high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.
  • The Alliance represents 14,000 member settings and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training programmes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.
  • The Alliance website is www.eyalliance.org.uk