APPG for Childcare and Early Education launches inquiry into financial sustainability of sector

Earlier this month we saw the launch of the Childcare and Early Education All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) inquiry into the financial sustainability of the childcare sector.

The inquiry follows a lobby day held in July of this year, where over 50 parliamentarians met with childcare and early years providers to learn about key issues facing the sector. 

Ahead of the launch, Former shadow early years minister and chair of the APPG group Tulip Siddiq said:

“There is clear evidence that the financial sustainability of the childcare sector is at risk. The government is right to have taken steps to support more children to benefit from high-quality childcare, but the delivery of key proposals is falling short of what is needed.

“The APPG has been told that childcare providers are closing in ever greater numbers, whilst others are struggling with business rates and staff recruitment and retention. This situation threatens the future of key government policies, such as 30-hours funded childcare.

“This inquiry will aim to bring together the evidence and experience of the sector and make a series of positive and constructive recommendations to support every setting”.

Sector representatives from the NDNA and Pre-school Learning Alliance attended the launch alongside parents, providers and experts, who shared their experiences of accessing and delivering childcare to a panel which also included Labour MP Tracy Brabin.

Top of the list of concerns from providers were high business rates, geographical funding inequalities and the financial pressure put on nurseries due to the 30 hours policy. 

Independent research company Ceeda presented their recent findings on early years funding and the impact of staffing costs on nurseries, which according to their findings now make up 70 per cent of operating costs.

Managing director of Tops Day Nurseries Cheryl Hadland also added to the conversation on staffing in the sector, commenting that “We pay our nursery practitioners less than call centres would pay them for being on the phone, or supermarkets would pay them for being on the tills”, and adding, “We need to improve the pay of our colleagues”.

Sponsored by a number of organisations, including CACHE, The APPG for Childcare and Early Education was launched in 2017, and brings together a cross-party group of MPs together with leading members of the early years sector to discuss sector policy.

The launch of the Childcare and Early Education APPG represented an important step in raising awareness of the many concerns the sector has in relation to its ongoing sustainability. At CACHE we remain committed to working with our fellow panel members, customers and government to ensuring these concerns are not only heard, but also quickly addressed.