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Government responds to petition on childcare funding and affordability

By Rachel Lawlerfamily walking childcare costs pettion

The government has responded to a petition calling for an independent review of childcare funding and affordability but stating that it is “not currently” planning to review the childcare system.

The petition has attracted more than 110,000 signatures and calls for an independent review to “explore what the government needs to do to ensure we have a childcare sector that works for families, children and the economy”.

The Petitions Committee has selected the petition to be the subject of parliamentary debate, due to be held later in the year.

In its response, the government said: “Support is available to help with childcare costs and the government monitors the sustainability of childcare providers.”

The full response is available here.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “It beggars belief that at a time when hundreds of nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are closing every month, the government is refusing to commit to even conducting a review of early years funding.

"Only last week, we released private government documents which prove that the government has not only been knowingly underfunding the sector for years, but that they knew this would increase prices for parents and put quality at risk. Any claims, therefore, about "unprecedented investment into the early years" can only be seen as wholly disingenuous.

"Years of underfunding has left this country with one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world, locking many parents - and particularly, mothers - out of work, and resulting in an early years workforce that is overworked, underpaid and undervalued.

"The dismissal of this petition is incredibly short-sighted and shows a total disregard for our vital sector. Given the strength of feeling on this issue, not only from providers but increasingly from parents as well, we urge the government to urgently reconsider this indefensible stance.”