Conservative party promises £250m a year for “wraparound childcare”
By Rachel Lawler
The Conservative party has pledged to spend “£250 million a year, for at least three years” as well as a £250 million “capital spending boost” on wraparound childcare.
The pledge is believed to refer to after school and holiday care.
The party previously pledged to increase the National Living Wage to £10.50 an hour by 2024.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “Promises of business as usual like this will mean little to those providers struggling to make ‘free childcare’ work.
“Even as we have seen soaring costs in wages, pension contributions and business rates, early years funding levels have remained stuck at what they were when they were set in 2015. That underfunding has plunged the sector into crisis, creating a huge and growing shortfall of two thirds of a billion pounds and forcing thousands of providers to close.
“Perhaps it was too much to expect a serious conversation about the future of the sector during this election – but that is what is urgently needed. Instead, we’ve had offers of more ‘free’ hours from the other political parties and this loose change from the Conservatives. Providers can’t go on like this: we need funding rates that cover the true cost of delivering childcare and a firm commitment for levels to be reviewed annually.”