Government confirms March Budget date
By Rachel Lawler
Chancellor Sajid Javid has confirmed that the next Budget will take place on 11 March.
Previously, a Budget was due to take place in November 2019, but cancelled after a general election was called.
In a statement, Javid said: “With this Budget we will unleash Britain’s potential – uniting our great country, opening a new chapter for our economy and ushering in a decade of renewal.”
The Alliance has called for the government to take urgent action to address the growing funding crisis in the early years sector.
Early years funding
Figures released by the Department for Education have revealed that local authorities in England will receive an additional 8p per hour for two-year-old funded childcare places and up to 8p an hour more per hour for three- and four-year-old funded childcare places in 2020/21.
The figures also show that some areas will not see any increase in funding for three- and four-year-old places.
Minimum wage rises
Meanwhile, the government has also confirmed that the national minimum and living wages will increase on 1 April 2020. The national living wage for workers aged 25 and over will increase from £8.21 an hour to £8.71.
Action on funding
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “As the financial pressure on pre-schools, nurseries and childminders across the country continues to build, it is vital that the Chancellor commits to taking urgent action to address the growing early years funding crisis at this year’s Budget.
“In April, the national living and minimum wages will rise by more than 6%, and yet early years providers will see a funding rate increase of just 2% at best – and many will receive far less than that. Childcare providers in England have already faced years of rising costs versus stagnant funding, and for many, this latest cost increase may well be the final straw.
“The government cannot continue to simply ignore this problem and hope it goes away. Without a significant increase in funding, we will continue to see rising childcare costs for parents, a shortage of places for children who need them and, in a growing number of cases, providers forced to close their doors for good.
“As such, we urge the Chancellor to take this opportunity to set out exactly how the government plans to ensure that the early years is adequately supported going forward. The sector simply cannot afford to wait any longer.”