A quarter of small businesses say that childcare is key for reopening
By Rachel Lawler
A quarter of small businesses say that the reopening of schools, nurseries, childminders and nannies will have an impact on their ability to reopen safely, according to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The FSB said that many of the 16 million people employed in small businesses in the UK rely on childcare providers in order to be able to work.
Mike Cherry, national chairman of the FSB, commented: “Small firms within our childcare sector were already up against a plethora of challenges before coronavirus hit. The pandemic has made a bad situation worse, with cashflow all but evaporating for months at many pre-school providers.
“To add insult to injury, there was a huge amount of confusion regarding eligibility for furlough and 30-hour free funding around the time of the initial national lockdown, meaning extra uncertainty for nurseries.
“The government must do more to protect the futures of our vital childcare providers. Ensuring that funding for the 30-hour free pledge is genuinely adequate and making permanent the current business rates exemption for nurseries – a step already taken in Scotland – would be good places to start.”
Vital role of childcare
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: "The Federation of Small Businesses is absolutely right to highlight the vital role that nurseries, pre-schools and childminders play in supporting parents to return to work, and to warn that much more needs to be done to safeguard small businesses within the childcare sector itself.
"While much attention has now turned to the reopening of schools, early years providers - which deliver care and education to over a million children in England - are continuing to struggle. With the increased costs of operating during a pandemic alongside a continued reduced demand for places, our chronically-underfunded sector will not be able to cope for much longer without urgent support.
"With the Spending Review taking place shortly, we urge the government to ensure that the early years sector gets the investment it needs to remain viable, both now and in the long term."