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From 30 free hours childcare to zero

(49 Posts)
Kat195 Mon 05-Jun-17 21:30:03

I have just received a letter from our nursery saying that it is likely that due to the new 30 hours' free childcare scheme and legislation put in place to implement it, all private providers in our London borough will have no choice but to withdraw from the Nursery Education Grant, as the grant has to reflect the total cost of provision of a free place. This will mean that rather than benefiting from 30 hours' free childcare from September, anyone with children at a private provider (nurseries and childminders) will lose even the previous 15 hours' free childcare grant that they are currently benefitting from. Apparently there is the hypothetical possibility of the government considering an exemption for our borough, but the new legislation is clear that the current drawing down of grants (which allows for nursery places at private providers to be effectively subsidised by the amount that the 15 hours free childcare is supposed to cost based on the rate of £4 that the government pays - the average rate of private providers, who are hardly raking it in, is in our area £8) cannot continue. Are there other places in the UK likely to be similarly affected? It seems ripe that the heavily promoted promise of 30 hours' free childcare is actually going to result in a reduction of the current free provision where we live. The only places that will fund 15 hours or possibly 30 hours of free childcare will be state nurseries, and while the 30 hours is supposed to be for working parents the patchy state provision available is for such short hours as to be unfeasible for working parents - especially as most nursery age children will be too young to be eligible for wrap around care at affiliated schools.

user1487175389 Mon 05-Jun-17 21:31:41

Another Tory cock up.

Scrumptiousbears Mon 05-Jun-17 21:33:55

The nursery we are using can only afford to offer it to 6 children. Looks excellent on paper but in reality it's just bollocks.

FathomsDeepAndFallingFurther Mon 05-Jun-17 21:35:18

I'm honestly not surprised. Private nurseries have been saying since the plan was proposed that 30 free hours was unworkable unless the government increased the amount they were prepared to pay per hour. The Tories refused to listen and so this was inevitable.

Lunde Mon 05-Jun-17 21:40:35

An unfunded political "promise"

Offer the voters the "carrot" of 30 "free" hours

Counter policies that increase providers costs
- raise NMW
- increase business rates
- possible NI increases after election
(these on top of "ordinary" price increases for food, rent, electric etc)
Plus 30 hours reduces options to top up through additional hours

But then underfund the "free" hours at less than break even - offering half or two-thirds - leaving providers with the choice to
- withdraw
- devise ways to charge parents for other things such as meals, activities etc
- subsidise the "free hours" by increasing charges to non- free age groups

Bippo Mon 05-Jun-17 21:41:35

Same here OP. We're in Harringay and very few, if any, private nurseries are offering the 30hours. My DD's nursery manager thinks that this mass refusal might help lobby the government into increasing the rate paid to them but not looking likely. Another cock up indeed.

AntiHop Mon 05-Jun-17 21:42:06

Another broken Tory promise.

It's really unacceptable OP. The problem is that the Tories have allowed childcare providers to opt out, and under funded it. It's shocking.

Snap8TheCat Mon 05-Jun-17 21:43:21

They aren't free hours. They're funded and nurseries and childminders all over the country are struggling to 'fund' the shortfall that this Torys have promised but not delivered on.

Kat195 Mon 05-Jun-17 22:27:30

The thing is that we now face losing the funding for the 15 hours that we started receiving this year and had been counting on continuing this year. So we will actually be in a worse situation than before.

Snap8TheCat Mon 05-Jun-17 22:31:51

Yes you said. Not entirely sure what your question is?

meditrina Mon 05-Jun-17 22:34:15

it's all been bollocks since the revisions (when they disallowed top ups, and made a few other changes) in April 2010 - only it was so bad the actual roll out was delayed to April 2011.

I don't think the Tories ever really grasped the flaws in the scheme, and they have magnified it's worst features, when really they should have taken it back to its original form.

It's never been compulsory for all nurseries/preschools/other providers to join this scheme so it's not the case that the Tories allowed an 'opt out': it's always been like that.

Kat195 Mon 05-Jun-17 22:38:28

Snap8 I was wondering if other areas are facing the same ie the end of the 15 hour subsidy for private providers. But maybe outside of London this is not how it works or the price differential in some areas between what the government pays and what it costs in real terms is not so great as to make it unmanageable for private nurseries.

Snap8TheCat Mon 05-Jun-17 22:46:50

I can only speak for my borough. Not only do they pay less:

They pay us termly in arrests. I can't afford to wait 10 weeks to be paid.

We can't charge the difference as a top up even if parents are willing.

It has to be free at the point of delivery so we can't charge retainers or deposits.

We can't 'enforce' breaks. For example offering 9-12 and 1-4 and charging for lunch. It has to be a straight run.

If a child leaves before headcount day a few weeks in to the term, the LA won't pay and we aren't allowed to ask parents. Likewise if the parents take too much holiday we have to pay it back and see the space go unused and unpaid for.

Why why why would I offer any of that when I can fill my spaces easily with paying customers for more money?

NeverTwerkNaked Mon 05-Jun-17 22:53:16

Our private nursery (south coast) is planning to offer it.
It is family run and I expect they have ownership the premises so long that they have

SpaghettiMeatballs Mon 05-Jun-17 22:53:33

Yes, my sister is to lose all funding (including 15 hours) in September as the nursery is no longer able to offer it. She is in Hampshire.

There is no local nursery offering her 30 hours that isn't a term fine only 9-3 set up.

NeverTwerkNaked Mon 05-Jun-17 22:54:41

...no property costs so that helps with overheads.

But I don't feel jubilant because DS school have just announced a massive funding shortfall. Massive.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Mon 05-Jun-17 22:55:18

Unfortunately childcare providers have been telling politicians all along that this will happen. The policy is completely underfunded but is an easy soundbite and vote winner so they peddle it out.

I'm not sure whether other areas will be losing the 15 hours too. Certainly in my area the big private nurseries are doing the 30 hours. The smaller ones and probably the preschools are sticking to 15. Some childminders are saying they will pull the 15 hours too. As Snap, says, if there is already a big demand for childcare when why would providers operate at a loss which could financially ruin them?

Sorry OP, it is rubbish and parents like you are losing out from it while it is still heavily publicised as 30 free hours angry.

While I am completely against the Torys for other reasons, I have to say that neither Lib Dem or Labour have been particularly honest about how unrealistic this policy is either.

It makes my blood boil as they are outright lying to parents making it seem as if there are all these 30 'free' hours just there for the taking. Not fair on parents or childcare providers.

NeverTwerkNaked Mon 05-Jun-17 22:55:42

Where is she spaghetti (am also in Hampshire and quite a few near us are planning to offer it)

NeverTwerkNaked Mon 05-Jun-17 22:55:57

(Pm me if you prefer!)

Malfoyy Mon 05-Jun-17 22:56:17

Blimey Snap that's a real bum deal sad

I don't blame you for not participating!

It seems so unfair that people will lose the 15 hours they already had. I'm lucky that my DS starts school in September so this won't impact my family but I remember counting down to getting those 15 hours and knowing that the money saved would put us back into the black again for the first time in 3 years.

Sorry OP, no advice just a wine

PersianCatLady Mon 05-Jun-17 22:57:00

I always thought that this wasn't going to work for childcare providers when they are not paid enough by the government.

Snap8TheCat Mon 05-Jun-17 23:00:27

And just so you can see the monetary value attached.

The LA want to pay me £1.35 per hour less than the local going rate.

Times by 30 hours and 38 weeks every year.

I have 3 spaces to offer.

1.35x 30 x 38 x 3 = £4,617 loss per year.

Could you honestly say you'd sign up to this?

PersianCatLady Mon 05-Jun-17 23:00:57

I never understood the logic of offering 30 hours of free childcare a week anyway.

It is supposed to benefit people on low incomes but those people can already receive help with childcare costs through WTC.

Any body who just wanted the 15 hours for 3-4 year old son was already getting it.

I cannot understand why anybody body thought that the system needed to change.

Please let me know if I am wrong on this.

Snap8TheCat Mon 05-Jun-17 23:03:50

And a family earning £198,000 could still be entitled to this.

You also only need to work 16 hours to receive this, why would you need almost twice as much childcare.

PersianCatLady Mon 05-Jun-17 23:04:10

Snap8
Never in a million years.

For you it is a pretty poor deal.

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