Councils anticipating closure of childcare providers

New research has found that more than half of local authorities in England believe local childcare providers will permanently close as a result of government childcare support being withdrawn.

As well as the 58 per cent of local authorities fearing the permanent closure of local childcare providers once funding arrangements to support the childcare sector through the pandemic end in January, Coram Family and Childcare also found that 26 per cent of local authorities say they expect to see providers reduce the number of free early education entitlement places they offer, which is of particular concern as these places are shown to narrow the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and their peers.

Coram Family and Childcare warns that closures are likely to lead to greater shortages in childcare availability for families, in a system that was already under pressure pre-pandemic. Already, 35 per cent of local authorities report that the number of providers permanently closing in their local area has increased in the last year.

Megan Jarvie, head of Coram Family and Childcare, said: “The ending of additional government support for childcare is going to be a blow for many childcare providers and the families who depend on them. We all rely on the childcare sector to support the learning and development of children and to enable parents to work. There are already signs of the pressure on childcare providers - a third of local areas already report an increase in nursery closures and shortages are increasing in some areas. It is vital that the sector is supported so that every family can find the high quality childcare they need.”