Alliance encourages early years providers to respond to business rates inquiry

The Pre-school Learning Alliance has called on all providers affected by business rates to respond to a newly-launched Parliamentary inquiry.

On Friday, the Treasury Committee launched an inquiry into business rates which aims to scrutinise how government policy has impacted business. The deadline for written submissions is 2 April.

Since April 2018, all nurseries in Scotland have been exempt from business rates, while settings in Wales will be granted exemption as of April 2019. However, the government has refused to make this change in England, instead stating that it is up to individual local authorities to offer rate relief.

Commenting, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said:

“It beggars belief that the government is still refusing to budge on this issue, despite the fact that providers in Wales and Scotland have now been granted exemption from business rates. Many settings have seen a significant increase in business rates over recent years, putting even more pressure on their finances at an already incredibly challenging time. It’s vital, therefore, that as many providers as possible respond to this inquiry, and ensure that the government remembers that this is an issue affecting more than just shops, pubs and other retailers."

Neil emphasised, however, that changes to the government's approach to business rates would only go some way to addressing the sector's financial challenges. He said: 

“Of course, that said, we know that business rates are just one piece of a much larger puzzle and that such a change would only go some way to benefiting providers – and only those who are indeed affected by rates. 

"With the vast majority of provider outgoings spent on salaries, and the national living and minimum wages set to rise in April, it’s vital that the fundamental and overarching issue of inadequate funding is tackled once and for all, and this is something that the Alliance will continue to fight on behalf of all our members across the sector.”

ENDS



ABOUT THE ALLIANCE

  • 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’s Fair Future Funding campaign currently has over 7,000 practitioner and parent supporters.
  • On 18 February 2019, the Pre-school Learning Alliance will be rebranding to the Early Years Alliance.