Alliance launches provider survey ahead of national minimum wage increases

The Early Years Alliance, formerly the Pre-school Learning Alliance, has launched an online survey to gather provider views and experiences ahead of next month’s increase to the national minimum and living wages.

The five-minute survey, which launched yesterday and has already received over 1,000 responses, is available here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/livingwage19

The increases were announced in November’s Budget and will come into effect on Monday 1 April. However, the government has already confirmed that early years funding levels will remain frozen until 2020.

Current funding levels are based on the government’s 2015 analysis of provider delivery costs and fail to reflect subsequent increases to providers’ outgoings, as a result of rising costs such as the national living wage, pension contributions and business rates.

The Alliance has been calling for funding rates to match the true cost of delivering quality childcare for a number of years. In late 2016, the organisation founded the Fair Future Funding campaign which now has more than 7,000 parents and providers signed up calling on the government to make childcare provision financially sustainable in the long term.

Commenting on the launch of the survey, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said: “Anyone working in the early years knows that the first of April represents a financial cliff-edge for the sector. The maths is straightforward enough: staff costs represent around three-quarters of providers’ outgoings and they’ve increased every year since childcare funding levels were set and frozen.

“I’ve already spoken to many providers this year who are struggling to balance the books and are incredibly worried about what increases to wages will mean for their business. But with a Comprehensive Spending Review due to take place later this year, this is a unique opportunity for providers to ensure that the Chancellor, wider government and the general public are in no doubt as to the severity of the challenges facing the PVI early years sector.

“The size of the response to our survey in just 24 hours shows just how vital it is that ministers pay attention – and the more responses we get the better placed we will be as a sector to demand the urgent action required on funding to guarantee the long-term sustainability of childcare in this country.

“As such, we would urge as many providers as possible to respond, and to make sure that their voices are heard at the highest level at this crucial time.”

All survey responses will be strictly anonymous and the results will be used to inform the Alliance’s ongoing work with government highlighting the shortfalls of early years funding against the rising annual costs the sector faces. The survey will close at 5pm on Monday 25 March.

 

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