Today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his first Budget in the House of Commons, announcing the government's tax and spending plans for the year ahead. The budget focused mainly on infrastructure and the current COVID-19 outbreak with no mention of early education and childcare.
PACEY is seeking clarification on key statements made in the budget and will update members as soon as possible.
Key Budget highlights:
- £30 billion stimulus to support UK in coronavirus.
- All those advised to self-isolate will be entitled to statutory sick pay, even if they have not presented with symptoms.
- Firms with fewer than 250 staff will be refunded for sick pay payments for two weeks.
- Self-employed workers who are not eligible will be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
- The ESA benefit will be available from day one, not after a week as now.
- The tax threshold for National Insurance Contributions will rise from £8,632 to £9,500.
- No other new announcements on income tax, national insurance or VAT.
- Firms eligible for small business rates relief will get £3,000 cash grant.
- VAT on digital publications, including newspapers, e-books and academic journals to be scrapped from December.
- Further education colleges will get £1.5bn to upgrade their buildings.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) commented:
"The fact that the Chancellor has decided to focus his budget on investment in roads and infrastructure rather than early education and childcare, something almost every family in the country relies upon to balance work and family commitments and to give their children the best start in life, is beyond disappointing.
We, like our sector partners, have repeatedly highlighted the continued underfunding childminders, nurseries and pre-schools are suffering from because government’s early education funding levels are inadequate. The new Chancellor had the perfect opportunity to address these long-standing issues as part of his plans to increase public spending. The fact he has not will mean more early years settings facing sustainability problems, less support for families as settings close."
"The immediate support for small businesses to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 are welcome. We are now seeking clarification how these proposed measures will be implemented, including how they will apply to the 1,000s of self-employed registered childminders.
"But this year’s budget is a missed opportunity for this new government. We now have to focus on the next comprehensive spending review and do all we can to re-present the case for significant investment in early years.”