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Report calls for government to scrap 30-hours offer

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has called on the government not to implement the 30-hours offer, in a report titled, ‘We can solve poverty in the UK’.
Released yesterday, the report proposes that the existing 15 hours of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds is retained, and that this be extended, over time, to two-year-olds.
It has also called for a radical reform of early years education and childcare in the country, in a bid to increase its quality, coverage and affordability.
Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said that he welcomes the report and its intent to improve childcare across the UK.
Of the 30-hours offer, Neil said that although the charity is “generally supportive” of the scheme – recognising the potential benefits it hold for families – he shares the report’s concerns, noting that the offer currently doesn’t focus sufficiently on those families most in need of support.
“Given the government has stressed the need for the scheme to provide ‘value to the taxpayer’, the decision to enable parents earning up to £100,000 each to qualify for the entitlement is bizarre to say the least,” Neil said.
“This is especially regressive given that those at the upper end of the salary scale will only have to work for a few hours a week to benefit from the additional hours, compared to 16 hours for those earning the national minimum or living wage.”
Neil added that the government would do better to focus its efforts on parents at the lower end of the scale if it truly wants to use its limited resources to maximum effect and close the gap between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers.