Yorkshire peer criticises Government’s “grossly underfunded” childcare plan

Baroness Pinnock
Baroness Pinnock
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SOME parents will face higher costs because of the Government’s failure to properly fund its promise of 30 hours of free childcare, a Yorkshire peer has claimed.

A promise to expand the amount of free childcare for parents of three and four year olds from 15 hours a week to 30 hours was a key Conservative election manifesto pledge.

The Conservatives have promised an extra £350 million to pay childcare providers for the additional hours.

But, speaking in the House of Lords Baroness Pinnock said the scheme appeared to be “grossly underfunded”.

“This leads to private providers making up for losses incurred on the free offer by charging highly inflated rates for hours outside of the scheme,” she said.

Baroness Pinnock also expressed concern about the quality of the provision which would be possible under the Government’s proposals and called on Ministers to put the needs of children first.

Responding for the Government Education Minister Lord Nash said: “It is imperative we carefully cost this policy and ensure we find the right balance between being fair to providers and providing value for money to the taxpayer.”

Lord Nash said the Government had taken note of concerns expressed by childcare providers about funding and it was committed to making sure there was sufficient money for the scheme.