Government plans to offer 30 hours of free childcare per week to the parents of three and four year-olds will leave providers struggling, a charity has claimed.
The Family and Childcare Trust said the scheme was poorly planned and unlikely to be properly funded, placing nurseries and daycare centres under considerable pressure. Lower income families in need of more than 30 hours a week could also be left struggling, it claims. It is due for introduction next year,
The plans should be abandoned and replaced with an alternative scheme, the Trust claimed. This would provide 15 hours of free childcare to all parents with children aged between two and four. Any additional hours would be paid for by the parents on a graded rate according to their income and families earning less than £16,200 would be exempt from payment altogether.
Chief executive Julia Margo said:
“While government initiatives such as extended free hours and tax-free childcare are very welcome and help many parents with childcare costs, the reforms will make an already complex system more complex and there are still gaps in vital support for low-income families. Our ambitious proposal for a simplified funding system could tackle many of the barriers low-income families experience when they try to access childcare and help them move into work.”