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Alliance calls on government to admit 30-hours funding crisis

The Pre-school Learning Alliance has said that the government must “come clean” about the problems with the funding of the 30-hours free childcare scheme.
The Department for Education ran a consultation on early years funding reforms in September, but many providers have still threatened to pull out, stating that even with the proposed changes they will not be able to afford to provide the extra hours.
The government has confirmed that only 75% of local councils will actually see an increase in their funding as a result of the changes, and Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, has urged the government to admit that it cannot afford to offer the service to working families.
“Either it needs to fund the offer properly, at a rate that ensures that neither parents nor providers have to incur any additional costs; or it needs to admit that the scheme is not ‘free’ at all, but rather subsidised, and promote it to parents accordingly,” Neil said. “Enough is enough. It is not the job of provider, or parents, to clean up the government’s mess.”
Many providers had pinned their hopes on the early years funding consultation as a solution to the problem, but Neil said that it has fallen well short of expectations.
“The consultation itself makes the argument that early years funding needs to be two things: sufficient and distributed efficiently. But while the government is focusing on the latter point, the former still remains unresolved,” Neil said.
“If there’s not enough money in the pot, distributing it more effectively can only do so much, and many providers have told us that, at the rates projected by government, it simply won’t be financially viable for them to offer the 30 hours.”