This week the Treasury in England has released advance details of some of the announcements due to be delivered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Autumn Budget and Spending Review on Wednesday 27 October.
Support for families and children
It is expected that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will make an announcement in Wednesday’s Budget of a £500 million package of support for children and families.
This investment will go towards creating a network of family hubs, described as “one stop shops” for families to access support and advice. The funding package is split into: £82m for the creation of these hubs in 75 local authorities in England; £100m towards additional mental health support for new and expectant parents; an additional £200m for the Government’s Supporting Families Programme to support vulnerable families over the next 3 years; £50m for breastfeeding support and advice; £50m for parenting support and £10m signposting the Start4Life initiative.
The Chancellor said “We know that the first thousand and one days of a child’s life are some of the most important in their development – which is why I’m thrilled that this investment will guarantee that thousands of families across England are given support to lead healthy and happy lives.”
The pre-announcement made no mention of whether we will see any increase in funded entitlements for early years and childcare providers delivering the 15- and 30-hour offers.
Increased Living Wage
The Chancellor is also set announce an increase of 6.6% to the 'National Living Wage' from April 1 2022 following a recommendation by the Low Pay Commission. This means people aged 23 and over will earn £9.50 per hour, compared to the current £8.91. Minimum wage for younger workers will also increase, with 21 and 22 year olds set to receive £9.18 per hour and apprentices over the age of 16 (and not in full-time education) will receive £4.81 per hour.
The full Autumn Budget announcement is due to be presented to Parliament from 12.30pm on Wednesday 27 October. PACEY will be providing live updates on Twitter during the announcement and a briefing of the key announcements for members afterwards.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
“This investment package for children and families is of course welcome news but it overlooks the role that early years and childcare providers deliver and fails to provide the much needed strategic investment in crucial early education and childcare services.
“This afternoon the Chancellor must acknowledge the key role that dedicated childminders, nurseries, pre-schools and nannies have played and the contribution they will make to ‘levelling up’ by supporting children’s learning and development and allowing parents to access training and employment.
"Whilst positive that practitioners like other low paid workers will benefit from the increase to the living wage, this investment has to be accompanied by increased funding for providers who deliver early education entitlements or their sustainability will be further eroded. We need bold financial investment that ensures the early years and childcare system delivers what children and families need.”