PRESS RELEASE on behalf of Champagne Nurseries on Lemonade Funding:
CNLF believe that the announcement of an election in June is a huge opportunity to change the manifesto on the 30 hours ‘free’ childcare policy.
With all the political parties now gearing up for the forthcoming election, the campaign group is urging childcare providers to lobby their local MPs and bring about much-needed change to ensure the ongoing viability of settings and the Government’s offer of financial help for working families.
CNLF has been campaigning for removal of the word ‘free’ from the 30-hour offer and the right for providers to be able to charge for additional services to make up the shortfall between the funding rate and their fees, without falling foul of the legislation.
CNLF spokesperson and nursery manager Jo Morris said:
“The simple fact is these hours are not free, they are subsidised. Allowing providers to charge additional services fees to cover the gap between the funding rate and their fees would be a huge win for all involved.
“The Government would be able to say that it is giving working families a very generous subsidy worth around £4500-£5000 per year.
“Providers would be able to afford to offer the hours because their full fees would be paid. This in turn allows the Local Authorities to meet their sufficiency duties and increases flexibility and choice for parents, as settings would not need to place restrictions on funded places.”
Ms Morris added:
“Using the funding as a subsidy means parents would genuinely be getting free childcare up to the value of their funding. For example, if a setting charges £5 per hour and the funding paid is £4560 per year (based on the average £4 an hour funding rate over 1140 hours) the parent would receive 912 hours per year completely free and providers would receive their full fee.
“The sheer amount of surveys, reports and research being published by organisations and think tanks both within and outside of the sector that are all concluding that this policy is underfunded is staggering. It is time that the Government listened and acted accordingly.
“We are heading towards a crisis in the sector, with rising costs and stagnant underfunding we implore MPs to take action on this matter and ask all our members to contact their MPs as a matter of urgency. A template letter is available on our Facebook page.”