One in five childcare providers fear they will close as costs not met by subsidy

Many childcare providers believe they will close within a year because their costs are not covered by a Government subsidy, a new study suggests.

Virtually all of over 260 nurseries and other providers surveyed by campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed said the 30 hours “free” childcare scheme, does not cover costs.

More than one in five (22%) said they do not believe they will still be open this time next year.

The report said that with the OECD reporting this year that the UK had the second most expensive childcare in the world, it is no surprise that the industry is in “turmoil”.

More than two thirds of those polled said they have found it difficult to recruit new staff, 90% believe childcare workers are badly paid and 63% think they are overworked.

Joeli Brearley (pictured), founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, said: “Our research with childcare providers demonstrates that the Government’s approach to childcare just is not working. The offer of 30 free hours sounds good on paper, but in reality, it is manifestly inadequate for the scope required.

“As it stands mothers get a year of maternity leave, with only nine months paid, so there are two years when they either have to stay at home or bear the brunt of the high cost of childcare.

“With the Government imposing 30 ‘free’ hours on childcare providers from three years onwards for just 38 weeks of the year, providers are recouping costs from younger years.

“This necessary action to stay in business is the key reason behind mothers being unable to return the work because of the high costs, further adding to the motherhood penalty and gender pay gap.

“We need the Government to create a childcare system that works for everyone, so that nurseries can stay open and provide quality care, and parents can go to work without facing the burden of high cost childcare.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Pregnant Then Screwed.