Today (17 November) The Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt made his Autumn statement setting out Government’s plan for the economy.
This included a commitment to increase National Living Wage from £9.50 to £10.42 per hour from next April for over-23s, the largest ever increase.
Other key announcements include:
- Benefits and state pension to rise by 10.1% from April 2023
- Additional Cost of Living support payments to come next year (including an extra £900 for those on means-tested benefits, an additional £300 for pensioners and £150 for those on disability benefits).
- A one-year extension of the Local Authority (LA) Household Support Fund from March 2023
It was disappointing that early years and childcare was not mentioned at all in the Autumn Statement, despite the announcement of an uplift in funding of £2.3bn for schools next year and the year after.
Read the announcement in full.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
“Of course PACEY supports low earners - including many early years and childcare professionals - benefitting from increased wages to better reward them for their work but the government has again missed the point. This increase will have to be paid by early years and childcare providers who employ staff, adding to the already substantial burden they are struggling with due to years of underfunding for Government’s funded entitlements.
“So disappointing to again hear no mention of the early years and childcare sector in the Statement and to see more funding for schools but nothing to help struggling childminders, nurseries and pre-schools. They will have significant and valid concerns about how they will cope with this huge staffing cost increase, at a time when they face a myriad of other financial challenges. We can only see this resulting in providers being forced to increase fees for paying parents, or in the worst cases closing their vital services to families. With families missing out on access to high quality early education and childcare, how does the Government expect to rebuild the economy and help children recover from the effects of the pandemic? It needs to instead address the years of underfunding that has left the sector in its current crisis and implement a long-term plan to reverse this.”