Childcare changes ‘will take time’

Published: Monday 1st June 2015 by The News Editor

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David Cameron has admitted it will “take time” to get plans to double free childcare provision right amid warnings the system faces “meltdown” unless the changes are fully funded.

The Prime Minister confirmed that working parents of three and four-year-olds in some parts of England will be entitled to 30 hours a week from September 2016, earlier than previously predicted.

Ministers say up to 600,000 families will eventually benefit from the move, worth around £2,500 a year on top of the £2,500 they can already save from existing free childcare offers.

But the Pre-School Learning Alliance, which represents 14,000 private, voluntary and independent groups, warned the existing 15 hours a week of free childcare is already “grossly underfunded” by the Government.

Research for the charity has suggested the total cost to the sector will be approximately £1.95 billion per year, but funding at current rates amounts to £1.7 billion – a potential shortfall of £250 million.

Asked about the proposals on ITV’s This Morning, Mr Cameron said many parents would be “very excited” about the opportunities the policy would give them.

But he said: “It is going to take time to get this right, because obviously we need an expansion of the childcare sector…

“We need them (providers) to expand and so we are going to start talking to them immediately about what is the best way of making sure they are being paid properly for the level of childcare they provide.”

Published: Monday 1st June 2015 by The News Editor

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