In a speech on Housing and Cost of Living this afternoon (9 June) the Prime Minister briefly mentioned plans to look into changes for the early years and childcare sector "in the coming weeks".
The Prime Minister said: “We are on your side in cutting the costs of childcare, by making it easier to be a child-minder, and making sure parents make the most of their tax-free childcare allowances that already exist but aren’t taken up.” (watch on YouTube at 41min)
This comes after statistics released last month by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) showed that around 500,000 families used Tax-Free Childcare last year of an estimated 1.3 million families eligible.
Measures to support childminders
PACEY has already put forward a list of policy proposals that we feel would have a positive impact on prospective childminders as well as better support those already working as a childminder. This includes considering funding for start-up grants for new entrants, reversing the illogical rule that prevents childminders from claiming entitlement funding for related children and easing the time limits on childminder assistants working alone with children.
More widely, PACEY is calling on Government to go further to commit to a long-term vision for the whole early years and childcare sector including an ambitious workforce strategy, more effective integration of children's services and a reform of the early years and childcare funding system.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
“Childminders deliver a high-quality, personalised and often flexible choice of early education and childcare for families, so we welcome the Prime Minister’s ambition to support more people in the profession.
“It is key that the Government listens to childminders about what they see as the main barriers facing them to keep their service viable as well as encourage new entrants into the sector. Supporting existing childminders to continue to deliver early education and childcare is as important as persuading more people to choose it as a career. We need to raise both the profile of childminding and the amount they can earn. When you can earn more in retail than in childcare, something has to change. Many childminders rely on in-work benefits to make ends meet. They are a key part of the solution for families using childcare but they too are struggling. Over the coming weeks we will be offering our members and the wider childminding community the opportunity to have their voice heard in these discussions.
“Ultimately, changes to regulation alone will not reverse childminding workforce decline without a long-term strategy that addresses underfunding, low earnings and low morale in the workforce. Until then we will continue to see dedicated professionals leave the sector for more highly paid jobs elsewhere.
“PACEY has worked hard to ensure childminders are championed equally with others in the sector, and we have made clear that we want to avoid any policy proposals that would lead to childminding portrayed as a ‘less profession’ option.”