PRESS RELEASE on behalf of

Champagne Nurseries on Lemonade Funding

Following members of the group ‘Champagne Nurseries, Lemonade Funding’ submitting a report about the Government’s ‘abuse’ of the childcare market, the Competition and Markets Authority has passed the report on to the next stage, which is the ‘Pipeline Team’ for consideration and the gathering of informal evidence. 

This action is the result of tireless campaigning by the group, which seeks to remove the word ‘free’ from the Government’s early years funding model.

The Competition and Markets Authority investigates reports about anti-competitive behaviour in markets and plays an advocacy role to ensure that both consumers and businesses are getting a fair deal.

Currently, the Government is on track to roll out its 30-hour childcare offer to 400,000 working parents of 3- and 4-year-olds this September. 

However, a recent report by the Family and Childcare Trust has revealed that only a third of local authorities in England expect there to be sufficient childcare places when this change takes place.

The 7-page complaint was submitted by the campaign group last month.

Following some recent campaign activity to raise awareness of the seriousness of the situation that this policy will place many providers in, the DfE have agreed to meet the leadership CNLF team next week for a discussion about the removal of the word ‘free’. 

Campaign spokesperson Jo Morris said:

“As more Local Authorities release their new funding rates, we are seeing a huge increase in the numbers of providers telling us that not only are their rates falling well short of the ‘average £4.88 per hour’ that the DfE has quoted widely, they will in fact not even be receiving the ‘average minimum of £4 per hour’ as quoted in the consultation response. 

“Given that there is no change to the statutory guidance that providers cannot attach any conditions of access to the ‘free’ places, this will put many settings in an untenable position.

“We look forward to a constructive, professional discussion with the DfE about the damage that this policy will do to the sector and about other ways forward.”

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