Government move to ease childcare relationships branded ‘pathetic’

Ministers say this will give providers more flexibility in how they run their businesses, while maintaining safety and quality of care.

The government said it could “possibly eventually” reduce the cost of this type of childcare by up to 15%, if providers adopt the changes and pass on any savings to parents.

But a charity that is the largest youth membership organization in England has criticized the plan.

Neil Leitch, CEO of the Early Years Alliance, said: “Given the magnitude of the challenges the early years are currently facing, it is beyond frustrating that the government is wasting its time consulting on easing ratios rather than only to admit that if we are to have affordable, quality, sustainable early childhood education and care in this country, we need to invest substantially more in the sector than we do now.

“Our own research has clearly shown that the proposal to ease the ratios for two-year-olds in nurseries and playgroups from 1:4 to 1:5 will not only lower the cost of places for young children, but in any setting that supports the new proportions. will lower quality and exacerbate the already catastrophic hiring and retention crisis the industry is already experiencing.”

The government said it will also support more people to become childminders, streamline the Ofsted registration process for providers and encourage the growth of childminder agencies.

The plans have also been rejected by the country’s top trade union leader, who said they “will not help”.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Quality affordable childcare should be available to everyone.

“But too many parents spend a huge chunk of their pay package on rising childcare costs while their pay is stagnant.

“These proposals will not help. Reducing staffing levels will only put more pressure on underpaid and undervalued childcare workers.

“Instead of making policy on the hoof, ministers should listen to childcare workers.

“It’s time for a good childcare financing scheme that delivers quality care, keeps costs down for families and guarantees decent wages and conditions for workers.”

Bridget Phillipson, Labor Secretary for Shadow Education, said: “This is a pathetic announcement that fails to deliver on the ambition families need to tackle the rising cost of childcare.

“Ratio adjustment is not the answer parents want and not the answer kids need.

“The vast majority of providers have made it clear that this makes no difference in costs for the parents.

“In addition, parents have said that the current tax-free childcare system is too complex to use, even once explained. The government is out of ideas and failing children and families.”

Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Every child deserves a good start in life and that means giving families the support they need.

“Childcare is an integral part of our economy, and these reforms prove once again that this government is on the side of working families.

“I am immensely grateful to the thousands of dedicated young professionals who provide day-to-day care and education to our youngest children, which is why I am committed to supporting them by giving them more flexibility in the way they run their services.

“In turn, this will support thousands of families across the country, help develop children’s skills while helping parents find work.”

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