Govt-19: More than half of local authorities expect childcare providers to close when corona virus support ends | UK News
More than half of local authorities in the UK expect childcare providers to close when the government’s corona virus support ends in January, a charity has warned.
Providers for a quarter (26%) of local authorities in the research of family and child care charity Gorem expect providers to reduce the number of free elementary education seats they offer.
Koram said this is very worrying as places like this have been shown to reduce the achievement gap between underprivileged children and their peers.
The government has confirmed that funding to support the sector through the epidemic will end next month.
58% of local authorities in the UK in quorum research believe local child care providers will be permanently shut down as a result of this move.
In an organization that was already under pressure before the outbreak, the charity warned that closing child care providers could lead to greater shortages in the availability of child care for families.
The charity says childcare is important because it allows parents to work, as well as prepare children for school.
One-third (35%) of local authorities reported an increase in the number of providers closing permanently last year.
While most local officials say they still do not see a lack of childcare, Koram said it could be caused by a 73% drop in demand from families due to the epidemic.
The charity said this could be due to job changes or reluctance to use childcare due to concerns about the spread of the virus.
Koram said their findings suggest that when demand returns to pre-infectious stages, there may be a significant shortage in childcare supplies.
The charity said it was particularly concerned about the availability of special education needs and disabilities (SEND) and childcare for school-age children.
Koram said local authorities could be seen reducing the number of seats compared to demand in those two areas.
The charity’s annual childcare studies, published before the outbreak, identified groups of those children who already had significant childcare deficits.
Megan Jarvi, head of the quorum, said: “The decision by the government to support childcare will be a blow to many childcare providers and their dependent families.
“We all rely on the Department of Child Care to support the learning and development of children and to help parents work.
“There are already signs of pressure on childcare providers – one-third of local areas have already reported nursery closures and shortages in some areas. This sector needs to be supported so that every household can find high quality childcare. They need it.”
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Corom’s findings are based on surveys sent to all family information services with local authorities in November 2020 as part of our Child Care Survey 2021.
The charity received responses from 56% of local authorities in the UK.
The government has continued to fund free primary education rights based on pre-epidemic attendance levels since the beginning of the lockout. This means that even if the children do not take them, the providers have received funding for their seats.
This helped protect the income of providers, especially those who received a larger portion of their income from government funding than parental fees.
The government announced on December 17 that it would be discontinued from January 17, and that it would return to an arrangement so that only children attending providers could receive funding.