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A new report from the Coram Family and Childcare Trust shows local authorities have seen a big drop in places at out of school childcare, while Nannytax reports a 19% rise in nanny costs in the Home Counties and Greater London.
Local authorities are worried about future provision of out of school childcare amid large drops in places.
A report from Coram Family and Childcare Trust looks into the support given to nurseries by local authorities during the pandemic.
The report draws on interviews with 122 Local Authority Early Leads and shows that there have been significant local variations in the support offered. For example, some local authorities reported offering considerable additional financial assistance, while several areas reported no additional spending.
The report says that, while there is not a widespread view among local authorities that the early years childcare sector is on the brink of financial disaster, there are concerns about the future once financial support recedes. However, there are significant worries about out of school childcare, including breakfast and after school clubs, which is used by twice as many children as early years childcare. The report says local authorities have seen large drops in places and that they are worried about future shortages.
Neil Leitch, Early Years Alliance chief executive, questioned what he said was the downplaying of Covid’s financial impact on early years childcare. He said: “Although some local authorities have sought to offer support to providers during the pandemic, the absence of broader financial support from central government – support that was widely available to schools and to other industries such as hospitality and retail – has put early years settings under considerable strain.
“Add to this the fact that early years attendance levels remain well below normal, and that the impact of the end of the furlough scheme on childcare demand is yet to be seen, and it is clear that any suggestion access to early years places won’t be negatively impacted going forward is wholly misguided.”
Meanwhile, research by Nannytax shows the average cost of employing a nanny in Greater London and Home Counties has risen by 19% in the last year.
According to Nannytax’s latest annual Nanny Salary Index, nannies in these regions are paid an average hourly rate of £13.26 in comparison to £11.15 reported back in 2019.
The increase is put down to the effects of the pandemic causing families to relocate from London to the Home Counties due to greater work from home possibilities, a shortage of nannies due to Brexit and ongoing demand for flexible childcare.
According to Nannytax, 64% of nannies continued to work between April 2020 and April 2021 without any periods of furlough. This includes during the first national lockdown when nannies were able to work while schools and nurseries were forced to close.
Kirsty Wild, Head of Sales & Marketing at Nannytax, says nannies can provide flexible childcare and if there is more than one child or two families sharing a nanny costs can be lowered. Parents who use Ofsted-registered nannies can also qualify for tax-free childcare.