A NURSERY owner is warning parents the government’s 30 hours free childcare pledge is chronically underfunded.
Steve Taylor who owns Winchcombe Farm Day Nursery in Upper Tysoe fears the pledge of 30 hours ‘free’ childcare is likely to cause bankruptcy for childcare businesses and leave parents struggling to find a ‘free’ place.
Mr Taylor has launched an online campaign calling for payments into parent’s Tax Free Childcare accounts instead of ’30 hours free childcare’ and it has already attracted almost 3,700 signatures.
Warwickshire is among one in five councils to be hit by government cutbacks, and Nursery Education Funding (NEF) which pays providers £3.77 per hour where the real cost of provision is nearer £5.20, is set to further decrease.
And Mr Taylor says the significant difference has cost his business, which opened in 2005 in a converted hay barn, an estimated £26,000 over the past year. The 80 place nursery, which started with just two staff, now employs 30.
Recent research published by the Preschool Alliance also suggested the government had grossly underestimated the amount of children eligible for funding – by around 110,000 – and required an additional £2billion to make it work successfully.
Mr Taylor added: “The simple fact of the matter is that in order for this offer to work it needs to be properly funded.
“The sector has been continually warning the government about the impending childcare catastrophe. It appears to be falling on deaf ears and they keep on forging ahead in complete oblivion with their ill thought out and chronically underfunded pipe dream.”
Mr Taylor, who is also a supporter of the successful lobbying campaign Champagne Nurseries for Lemonade Funding, is meeting with Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi next month to present the petition and ask him to raise the matter with party colleagues urgently.