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Labour launches a series of ‘big conversation’ events around childcare as data shows the number of childcare providers that have closed since 2015.
Labour has launched a programme of engagement events on early education and childcare services, claiming it has data showing the Conservatives have cut spending on Sure Start children’s centres and children under five by 40 per cent since 2015.
Labour analysis shows that on top of the 12,000 early education and childcare providers that have closed since 2015, 30,000 more early years providers are at risk of closure within a year. It calculates that 345,000 women would be at risk of losing their jobs if further childcare providers were lost.
Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: “The Conservatives have treated children as an afterthought throughout this pandemic, with had no plan to protect early years providers nor support the families who rely on their vital services.
“Labour wants to see children at the heart of our national recovery. Through engagement with parents, providers, children and experts our Bright Future Taskforce will develop a national strategy to ensure every child can recover the learning and social development lost during the pandemic and has the chance to reach their full potential.”
Neil Leitch, Early Years Alliance chief executive, which represents childcare providers, said: “We absolutely need to talk, and keep talking, about the early years. We know the first five years of a child’s life are crucial to their long-term development, and yet when we talk about education, we only talk about schools, colleges and universities. We know that strong early years provision, staffed by qualified professionals, has a dramatic impact on life chances, and yet when we talk about attainment, we only talk about GCSE and A-level results.
“The shocking loss of more than 12,000 early years providers in just five years, and the potential loss of thousands more, is clearly the result of the sustained underfunding of the sector – which itself is a result of the continued failure of government to put the early years at the centre of its education agenda.”