Early years education business experts have applauded a Yorkshire Local Authority for reducing business rates for nurseries in the midst of the huge financial challenges they face following the introduction of 30 hours funded childcare nearly a year ago.
Harrogate Borough Council is one of the first local authorities in England to offer a reduction in business rates for nurseries, coming at a time when childcare providers across England face a 26 percent upsurge in business rates.*
Allan Presland, founder and CEO of Parenta, the UK’s largest provider of business support solutions and training for the early years sector works with around 6500 childcare providers around the world. He commented; “This is a true reflection of the strain our industry is under following the introduction of 30 hours funded childcare. The response from Harrogate local authority to try to alleviate the pressure felt by childcare providers is phenomenal and I applaud their decision to work with local providers to support the sector.‘
‘It was shocking to read the results of the recent NDNA’s annual survey for England, which gives an insight into the sector as it stands today. How ironic that introducing 30 hours “free childcare” has resulted in setting closures increasing by a staggering 47% between September 2017 and May 2018 compared to the previous year. This is the very opposite effect that the Government had intended by doubling the 15 funded hours, yet they still refused to listen. How many more settings must close before the Government realises it has made a significant error in the in the way this policy has been implemented?”
Ken McArthur, business manager at Polly Anna’s Nursery in Haxby, N Yorkshire said; “What’s happened in Harrogate is excellent news. While I’m sure there will be provisos, this discretionary discount to qualifying business rate payers in Harrogate is very much welcomed. For the first time a local authority has recognised that some early years settings do have excessively high business rateable values which is unfair because they are competing in a market place where the funding rates are the same, regardless of business size within that local authority. I sincerely hope that other local authorities see this as a good example and follow suit.”
NDNA chief executive Purnima Tanuku said: “This is good news and long awaited. NDNA has been lobbying for nurseries to receive business rates relief for a number of years now. We have had success in Scotland where nurseries are now exempt from paying business rates and in Wales, many more nurseries are being given rates relief. We hope that more local authorities in England will follow suit. NDNA highlighted in our annual survey report this month that business rates are a huge cost. We urged the Government to give full business rates relief to all nurseries so they would not have to pass this growing cost onto parents in the form of higher fees.”
*According to research by business rent and rates specialists CVS. Analysis of official Government data by CVS revealed that business rates will increase to £110.72m per year, leaving a total property tax bill for nurseries and pre-schools of £553.6m by 2022.
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Notes to editors:
About Allan Presland
Allan Presland is the chief executive officer of Parenta Group, the market-leading, multi-award winning, international childcare training and software company, based in Maidstone, Kent. Parenta has enjoyed significant success over the years and is now the UK’s largest supplier of these services to the early years sector, working with around 6,500 childcare businesses, and training in excess of 2,500 nursery staff every year.
About Ken McArthur:
Ken McArthur has been involved with representing the day nursery sector at both local and national levels, and has been Chair of the local NDNA Network in York and is a member of their National Policy Committee. His work supporting the early years sector nationally was recognised by his peers who awarded him the ‘Most Influential’ person in Early Years 2016.