TUC calls for financial support for childcare sector
By Rachel Lawler
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for an "urgent cash injection to the childcare sector" to prevent parents from being "forced out of work".
A new report from the union, called 'Forced out: the cost of getting childcare wrong', has recommnded that the government takes "emergency measures" to prevent "widespread and unnecessary job loss" for working parents.
The report calls for for emergency funding for the early years sector to "ensure providers can remain open and financially viable".
Job retention scheme
The TUC also called for a limited version of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to be extended beyond October until schools and childcare settings are fully reopened to support parents who are currently unable to return to work due to childcare responsibilities.
The report also calls on the government to target childcare support "at those that need it most" as children from low-income backgrounds are still less likely to access early years education than their peers. It warned the government to make sure that these children do not miss out further "as the squeeze on childcare places increase".
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance said: “We warmly welcome the call by the TUC today for an emergency government bailout of the childcare sector.
“We have long been arguing that without necessary financial support from the government, the childcare sector is at risk of collapse, a frightening reality which has been drawn ever closer by the damaging economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“As the TUC rightly points out, nurseries, pre-schools and childminders across England are struggling to remain financially viable, and we know from our own research that 1/4 childcare providers fear closure in the next 12 months.
“Early years providers play a fundamental role in our national infrastructure and will be crucial to limiting the economic impact of Covid-19 by allowing parents, and particularly mothers, to return to work. Without urgent action the government risks sleep-walking the sector into a potentially irreversible financial crisis that will have disastrous long-term impacts on the quality and availability of childcare in this country.
“Of course, that said, while an emergency cash injection would be a very welcome step, this could only ever be a short-term solution. If we are to guarantee the long-term survival and sustainability of the childcare sector, then the government must urgently review its funding of early years and commit to sustained long-term investment which provides the sector with the financial support it desperately needs to survive.”