Laura Sharman 15 June 2021

Ministers 'knew early years was underfunded' argues charity

Ministers knew early years was underfunded argues charity image

The Government has been accused of knowingly under-funding local authorities on 'free childcare' places by the Early Years Alliance.

The educational charity said that data obtained through freedom of information requests shows that the Government only paid local authorities two-thirds of what it estimated they would need to fully fund the scheme.

The data shows civil servants estimated the cost of a government-funded early years place for three- and four-year-olds would cost an average of £7.49 per hour by 2020/21. However, the average rate paid to local authorities is just £4.89.

The Early Years Spending Review Scenarios document obtained from the Department for Education also shows that ministers were aware that under-investment would lead to increased prices for families, with providers forced to use maximum statutory adult-to-child ratios.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: 'For years, the early years sector has warned that the so-called ‘free entitlement’ offer is anything but free, in the face of repeated government claims that the policy is adequately funded. These documents, which they spent more than two years trying to hide, prove otherwise.'

'For so long, the government has tried to deflect the blame for rising childcare costs. But these documents prove, in black and white, that it knew that the introduction of the 30-hours policy, along with an insufficient level of investment, would result in higher costs for parents of younger children.'

A Department for Education spokesperson said: 'Through our early years funding formula, which we introduced after consultation with the sector, councils must pass on the vast majority of the funding they receive for the three and four-year-old entitlements.

'The number of childcare places available for parents in England has remained broadly stable since 2015, and we are not aware of any significant issues for parents in accessing free places – we work closely with councils to ensure this remains the case.'

Overcoming the barriers to Commercial Card use image

Overcoming the barriers to Commercial Card use

Want to reap the benefits of Commercial Cards but coming up against some challenges? James Sykes, Head of Commercial Cards, Lloyds Bank and David Legg, Head of Corporate Card Products, Lloyds Bank, discuss how the payments industry is helping organisations unlock their true value.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Assistant to the Leader

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£33324 - £35751 per annum + n/a
Communities, Environment and CentralCorporate Governance & Democratic ServicesSenior Assistant to the Leader, Leader's Office PO1 (£33,324- £35,751) T England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Early Support Consultant

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£31,346 - £33,782
We are looking to hire candidates with experience of Whole Family Working and the Supporting Families program to join us as... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Governance Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£23,080 - £24,491
As a Governance Officer, you will work as part of the Homes and Neighbourhoods team that... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Head of Finance and Customer Services (S151)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Salary to £67k (plus £3k car allowance)
As a large and successful district council, North West Leicestershire has every reason to be confident about the future. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Community Co-Ordination Manager

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£37,890 - £39,880
Do you want to be a part of a high performing team, developing creative projects that benefit the community? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue