Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association believes Labour’s pledge to freeze rates for small businesses will assist childcare providers; but has called for nurseries to be exempt from business rates completely.

“Nurseries, like many other small businesses, are working on a tight budget. Business rates have been increasing while the recession has been biting and these rates inevitably lead to fee increases for parents.

“The certainty of a freeze on these rates at a level which would take a large proportion of nurseries would be a reassuring first step but for many the level of rates will still be too high.

“We feel the proposals should go further. Nurseries provide a public service and we would like to see them exempt from business rates altogether.

“All three political parties have made promises to provide more free childcare places but the places are currently underfunded. These losses along with business rates push up the overheads. The only way nurseries can make up the shortfall is by raising the fees on hours paid for by parents.

“While we are pleased to see steps being made to help small businesses we would like to see a pledge to give the childcare sector the financial support it really needs.”

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