Councils uncertain whether their area can cope with 30 hours free childcare

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21st February 2017 16:14 - Local Government

Councils uncertain whether their area can cope with 30 hours free childcare: A recent local government survey has revealed that more than 50 per cent of local councils in England are not confident that their area would have the resource to cope with a rise in free childcare for working families.Councils uncertain whether their area can cope with 30 hours free childcare

This September, the number of hours of free childcare working families are entitled to will increase to 30 hours per week, from the existing 15 hours.

A survey by the Family and Childcare Trust questioned local authorities to reveal that there is a lack of confidence about how they will be able to cope with the effects of the policy introduction.

The local authorities expressed concerns about the potential for fees to be increased for additional childcare, with 37 per cent saying that it would increase fees for three and four year olds, and a further 23 per cent saying that it would do the same for younger children

The Family and Childcare Trust sent the survey to all of the 152 local authorities in England and 112 of them responded. Of the local authorities that responded, 54 per cent said that they did not know whether they would have enough childcare available for pre-schoolers who were eligible for the 30 hours of free care. On the other hand, 33 per cent of the authorities said that there area would have enough spaces and a further 13 per cent said that there would not be enough places.

67 per cent of the local councils said that they believe some childcare providers in their catchment area would not offer the 30 free hours of care.

When asked whether the local authorities believed that the new policy would result in lower quality of early year’s education, 66 per cent said that they felt that it will make no difference. A further 32 per cent said that they were not sure and 2 per cent said that they felt it would be impacted.

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