A NURSERY owner has presented Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi with a petition outlining fears an increase in free childcare will leave both providers and parents struggling.
Steve Taylor who owns Winchcombe Farm Day Nursery in Upper Tysoe, launched the online campaign calling for payments into parent’s Tax Free Childcare accounts instead of ’30 hours free childcare.’
During the meeting with Mr Zahawi, Mr Taylor explained the cost of providing quality childcare at his nursery was approximately £5.22 per hour, where Nursery Education Funding (NEF) only paid providers £3.77 per hour, and was set to further decrease.
The nursery owner estimated the shortfall to be some £50,000 a year – rendering his business unsustainable.
Mr Zahawi promised to raise the concerns with the Secretary of State for Education and contact Warwickshire County Council to discuss how the budget allocated by central Government was distributed fairly across the county.
Also joining Mr Taylor and Mr Zahawi was Linda Findon, Chair of Cygnets Education & Childcare Trust, a charity which operates three nurseries in the region.
She said: “At Cygnets and in other settings there is huge concern that quality of provision will be severely impacted as providers try to make the funding stretch. Loss of flexibility could also mean relationships with parents suffer.”
Ms Findon also revealed she had written to the council expressing her concerns that parents’ demands would not be met due to a lack of funding for nursery providers.
Mr Taylor, who described the meeting as positive and productive, said: “The simple fact of the matter is that in order for this offer to work it needs to be properly funded and we hope that our meeting with Nadhim has helped highlight the plight of thousands of childcare professionals who are facing a very bleak future.”