Alliance responds to Gingerbread report on childcare costs

11th March 2015

  • ‘Counting the cost’, an independent report commissioned by the Pre-school Learning Alliance in 2014, found that government funding only covers the cost of four out of every five funded childcare places.
  • The Alliance is calling on the government to conduct a full funding review of the free childcare scheme.

Commenting on Gingerbread’s Paying the Price report, which found that nearly half of single parents have had to borrow money from friends, family or banks to pay for childcare in the last two years, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said:

“We are greatly concerned, but unfortunately not surprised, by the findings of this survey.

“The government continues to claim that tackling rising childcare costs is one of its top priorities. If this is the case, how can it be that nearly half of single parents have to borrow money to pay for childcare?

“For far too long, the government has refused to address the underlying cause of childcare cost rises in this country: inadequate funding. With government funding only covering the cost of four out of every five childcare places offered under the free entitlement scheme, it is inevitable that this shortfall will be passed on, at least in part, to parents.

“As the report highlights, existing support via universal credit is limited in the help it can provide parents - and the same is true of the new tax-free childcare scheme, which is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Ultimately, if the government is to deliver an affordable, quality and sustainable childcare sector, it simply must address funding shortfalls - anything less is simply tinkering around the edges.”

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Notes for editors

  1. The Pre-school Learning Alliance is the largest voluntary sector provider of quality affordable childcare and education in England.
  2. Through direct provision and its membership of 14,000 nurseries, sessional pre-schools and parent and toddler groups, the Alliance supports over 800,000 children and their families in England. The Alliance also develops and runs family learning programmes, offers information and advice, runs acclaimed training and accreditation programmes and campaigns to influence early years policy and practice.
  3. For information about the Pre-school Learning Alliance, visit our website:

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