Today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his second Budget in the House of Commons, announcing the government's tax and spending plans for the year ahead and beyond. The budget focused on further measures to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as infrastructure investments. Again, however, there was no mention of early education and childcare.
We welcome the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to an estimated 600,000 new people, including those that were newly self-employed in 2019-20. We hope that will benefit some of those in the early years sector that have hitherto missed out on this support. We will seek clarification on the details of this and update members as soon as possible.
Some of the key Budget announcements include:
- A fourth and fifth phase of SEISS grant will be available*.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) to be extended until the end of September 2021
- £20-a-week uplift to universal credit extended for another six months
- Business rates relief to be extended
- The National Living Wage will rise to £8.91 from April
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
"While we welcome some measures in the budget, such as the extension of the SEISS, that should support some of the many registered childminders who missed out on this scheme before, the Chancellor has yet again failed to see the vital role that early education and childcare will play in the ‘build-back’ from the pandemic and in the government’s stated ambitions to level-up across the country. Whilst other sectors are to receive substantial grants and other support to build back after this pandemic, early years and childcare providers again receive no additional support.
"We, like our sector partners, have repeatedly highlighted the precarious situation that childminders, nurseries and pre-schools are facing now and into the future. Dedicated front line workers for whom the pandemic has meant fear for their health, fear for the well-being of the children they care for and fear for their own livelihoods – now and in the future.
"Our sector needs to be properly resourced for that future. We need a long term vision for a properly resourced early years sector that means young children can bounce back, flourish and be ready for school. A properly resourced early years sector for parents and carers to seek and return to work as our economy regrows.”
* The fouth SEISS grant will run from February to April 2021. Businesses will get 80% of trading profits up to £7,500.
The fifth SEISS grant will be open for claims in late July, covering May 2021 onwards. Businesses reporting a fall in turnover of 30% and above will get an 80% of three months average trading profits. Those reporting a fall in turnover of less than 30% will get a reduced grant of 30%.