Childcare costs expected to 'sky-rocket'

The Pre-School Learning Alliance has warned that childcare costs could ‘sky-rocket’ in certain English regions as nurseries await less funding for a free government childcare scheme.

The Alliance claims that a quarter of councils will see a drop in government funding when the free 30 hours scheme starts in 2017, with ministers arguing that funding will be allocated ‘more fairly’ as a result.

All three and four year olds are currently entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week, but from September 2017, working parents will be entitled to an extra 15 hours a week, in school term-time, for each child.

A consultation on funding states that 38 out of 150 local authorities face a fall in rates. Additionally, details obtained from a Freedom of Information request revealed that nearly 75 per cent of councils had been given funding levels over the past five years that had failed to keep pace with inflation.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said: “The government has tried to sell next year's funding changes as a solution to all the concerns about the 30 hours offer, but this simply isn't true.

"With a quarter of all local councils seeing a fall in funding next year, childcare costs in those areas are likely to sky-rocket as childcare providers face a choice between either raising fees or going out of business."

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