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Government has underestimated demand for 30 hours scheme, says Alliance

Research by Ceeda suggests that tens of thousands could miss out on funded places
The government has underestimated the level of demand for the 30-hour funded childcare offer, according to independent research commissioned by the Pre-school Learning Alliance and carried out by research company Ceeda.
Based on a survey of 1,708 parents, Ceeda estimates that that 88% of working households in England, equating to 478,000 children, currently meet the requirements for funded places. This is 23% higher than the government’s estimate of 390,000 children.
The Alliance has also warned that the government has not allowed for parents who will increase their number of working hours in order to become eligible for the scheme in its eligibility estimates. The research suggests this could add another 22,000 required places, meaning that 500,000 places could be required, 110,000 (28%) higher than the government estimate.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said that the research was “deeply concerning” as it suggested that the government has “significantly underestimated” the demand for childcare places.
He said: “The government must do more to support early years providers if the 30-hour scheme is to have any chance of working in the long term. That means both adequately funding the creation of enough new places, and ensuring that the free entitlement offer in general is funded sufficiently in the long term.”