Campaign launched to highlight underfunding of ‘free’ childcare

The Early Years Alliance has launched a childcare campaign to draw attention to the impact of underfunding of the current ‘free’ childcare offer.

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A leading childcare campaigner has launched a campaign calling on political parties to pledge to increase early years funding ahead of next month’s general election.

The Early Years Alliance campaign comes on the back of significant pledges on childcare by the main political parties. Labour has promised to extend 30 hours a week free childcare to all two-, three- and four-year-olds in England, open up 1,000 Sure Start Centres and increase the minimum wage [many childcare workers are paid the minimum wage]. The Liberal Democrats have promised 35 hours a week of funded care for 48 weeks a year for all two-, three- and four-year-olds in England and 35 hours a week of free care for children from nine months old in working families.The Conservatives announced a £1bn fund for wraparound care.

The Alliance has been campaigning for years for Government to fully fund the current ‘free’ childcare offering, particularly the 30 hours a week childcare for many three and four year olds. It says underfunding of the care has forced some nurseries to introduce top-up fees and led to many being on the brink of closure.

Its campaign invites childcare providers to write to their prospective parliamentary candidates about the early years funding crisis, outlining how the underfunding has affected them and warning them that urgent action needs to be taken.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said: “We now know what the major political parties are offering – and the sector has every right to be worried.

“This is a great opportunity for us to get out in front of the people who will be forming the next government, let them know the impact of underfunding in their constituency and ask them what they’re going to do to fix it. It takes only two minutes to fill out the form and send a message to your next MP so I hope everyone can find the time to get involved.”

*The form can be accessed now at www.eyalliance.org.uk/TakeAction.



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