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One in 10 early years providers could close this winter

By Rachel Lawler

One in 10 early years providers could be forced to close this winter without adequate financial support, according to a report from the County Councils Network (CCN).

The CCN surveyed councils in England about the impact of coronavirus on the early years and childcare sector.

80% of respondents said that up to one in 10 providers could be forced to close this winter, while the remaining 20% believed that one in four providers could close in the coming months.

The CCN is calling on the government to commit to providing adequate financial support for childcare providers until the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Keith Glazier, children and young people spokesperson at CCN, said: “Rural and remote areas of counties where there is already a dearth of childcare could be the most vulnerable, impacting on parents and children alike, and hampering the economic recovery efforts. This is why we will need further financial support, and the freedoms for councils to direct these funds to the areas where closures will be most catastrophic.”

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, added: "How many organisations have to warn that thousands of nurseries, pre-schools and childminders across the country are at serious risk of closure before the government starts to listen?

"Closures on the scale forecast by this research would not only lead to tens of thousands of young children missing out on vital early education, but also parents losing access to childcare at a time when many are already struggling to balance work and family commitments. The CCN is absolutely right to highlight the particularly detrimental impact that this would have in more remote areas, where closures could mean that families are simply no longer to access formal childcare at all.

"With as many as one in four providers fearing they won't be able to keep their doors open for much longer, it's clear that urgent action is needed - and the harsh reality is that the steps taken by government so far, while welcome, are simply not enough. The sooner ministers acknowledge this and accept that much more significant investment into the early years sector is needed, the more likely we are to prevent the country being hit by a full-blown childcare crisis."