‘Still more to do’ on support for childcare costs following years of campaigning by petitioners
17 March 2023
Additional entitlements to free childcare were unveiled in the Budget following years of campaigning by parents and early-years providers, including several e-petitions that have prompted debates in Westminster Hall.
The Petitions Committee over the years has scheduled several debates and surveyed thousands of people around the issue of childcare, and looked at the cost of childcare and sustainability of the childcare sector in its inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on new parents.
Calls for increased help with the cost of childcare have now been recognised in the Government’s latest Budget.
Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, said:
“The Petitions Committee over several years of debate and public engagement, has heard from tens of thousands of parents struggling to afford suitable childcare.
We’ve also heard from the childcare sector which is facing record numbers leaving the industry due to financial pressures and staff shortages.
I’m proud the Petitions Committee has been able to give these tireless campaigners and industry experts a platform, and I thank everyone who has campaigned on this issue, especially those who have started and signed e-petitions about childcare.
Yet – there is still more to do.
Does the sector have the support it needs to roll-out the new Government funding? And what about the serious concerns raised by petitioners and experts who we heard from before a debate on childcare staff ratios last year? The childcare sector and parents need clarity about how these new entitlements, and changes to staff-child ratios, will be delivered in a way that makes affordable and safe childcare more accessible.
The Petitions Committee will continue to provide a platform for all the voices that should be heard on this issue.”
Petitions received with over 10,000 signatures on childcare since the petition site opened in 2015:
- Increase funding for early years settings currently open with just under 15,000 signatures
- Fund 30 hours free childcare from age 1 for families where both parents work currently open with over 157,000 signatures
- Commission an independent review of childcare funding and affordability closed in November 2021 with 113,704 signatures and debated on 13 September 2021
- Do not reduce staff-child ratios in early years childcare closed in November 2022 with 109,488 signatures and debated on 14 November 2022
- Offer 15hrs free childcare for multiples under 3 years closed in September 2021 with 13,808 signatures
- Grant wraparound and holiday care providers urgent financial support closed June 2021 with 11,327 signatures
- Give UK nurseries emergency funding if they have to close down amid COVID-19 September 2020 with 106,128 signatures and debated on 25 June 2020
- Make nurseries exempt from business rates to support the childcare sector closed in September 2020 with 11,220 signatures
- Provide 15 hours free childcare to working parents for children over 9 months closed in October 2019 with 146,397 signatures and debated on 9 March 2020
- Increase Early Years Funding for Pre-Schools closed in November 2019 with 10,922 signatures
- Increase early years funding in line with minimum pay rises closed in July 2019 with 17,036 signatures
- Change business rates for child care providers and make them zero VAT rated closed in October 2018 with 10,915 signatures
- Keep Childcare Vouchers open beyond April 2018 closed in October 2017 with 119,587 signatures and debated on 15 January 2018
- Free childcare when both parents are working. Not just those who are on benefits closed in December 2016 with 133,921 signatures and debated 21 November 2016
- Give parents who work full time, free childcare closed in August 2016 with 48,775 signatures
- Free childcare for 2 year olds to include parents who are both working full time closed in June 2016 with 57,418 signatures
- Increase the hourly funding rate for 2-4 year old's in early years settings closed in February 2016 with 10,056 signatures