Alliance responds to government's inability to justify decision to keep nurseries open

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

"It beggars belief that the government still isn't able to answer one critical question: if it is too dangerous for schools to remain open, how can it be safe for early years providers to do so?

"During an interview this morning, Michael Gove argued that childcare was needed to enable key workers to continue to work - but nurseries and childminders have been asked to stay open to all children, not just those of critical workers. How can it be that a senior minister doesn't even understand what the government is actually asking early years providers to do?

"Many of those working in the early years feel terrified and abandoned by the government. They are being asked to remain on the frontline during the most worrying period of a global pandemic with no PPE, no testing and no access to vaccinations.

"Add to this the fact that the government is providing minimal financial support to help providers get through this incredibly difficult period and it's hard to think of many other sectors that have been asked to do so much while being been treated with such disdain.

"The early years cannot be treated as an afterthought. We need protection, we need financial support and we need the appalling treatment of our sector to end once and for all."