In today’s “back to work” budget, a multibillion-pound announcement is expected.
Families with children aged one and two do not presently receive support following the conclusion of parental leave. And before the provision of free nursery hours for children aged three and four.
Jeremy Hunt’s cost-of-living and parental job argument may hinge on extending the provision.
Childcare costs in the United Kingdom are among the highest in the world, with full-time fees for a child under the age of two at a nursery reaching an average of £269 per week last year, or approximately £14,000 annually.
The Early Years Alliance predicted an 8% rise in nursery fees.
In response to the anticipated funding increase, the organization stated, “as always, the devil is in the details.”
Neil Leitch, chief executive officer, stated, “We are aware that the sector is facing its most difficult period in decades; settings are closing at record rates, there is a severe recruitment and retention crisis, and costs continue to rise.”
“What is currently a crisis will become a catastrophe unless the government implements safeguards to ensure that funding for all early entitlement offers continues to meet the sharply rising costs of delivering places, both now and in the future.”
Labour promises to fix the “broken system” in daycare ahead of the next election.
Currently, all families with three- and four-year-olds are eligible for 15 hours of free childcare per week over 38 weeks. Parents who work 16 hours per week at the minimum or living wage can get 30 hours of free daycare.
The government is anticipated to pledge £4 billion to expand free provision to one- and two-year-olds. On Wednesday, the source of the funds will be disclosed.
Labour MP Stella Creasy claimed that is only half of what would be required, tweeting, “If this is true. It is asking childcare providers to offer more hours at a loss. As it is only half of the funds required to fulfill this promise.” It would be identical to the help-to-buy program, which drove up home prices because it did not increase supply.”
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, stated that many would be pleased with the announcement. But cautioned that “the entire system is enormously complex.”
“As universal support has increased, targeted support for the most disadvantaged children has decreased,” he wrote.
What else is anticipated in the budget on Wednesday?
Mr. Hunt is anticipated to announce a package of measures to assist parents, including a change to the regulations so that those receiving Universal Credit receive more child care and the funding up front.
Consideration is also being given to loosening staff-to-child ratios for two-year-olds, which could reduce the cost of child care.
Mr. Leitch urged the government to “reconsider this disgraceful plan,” stating, “At a time when we finally appear to be making progress, policies that undermine the quality of care and education that children receive are the last thing we need.”
This effort will focus on re-employing parents, sick, disabled, and aging workers.
Announcements on energy bill assistance, reform of benefits, and pensions allowances are anticipated. Though Mr. Hunt is likely to resist appeals from Conservative backbenchers for additional tax cuts.
The fiscal package follows last November’s autumn statement, in which the chancellor raised taxes as he and Rishi Sunak sought to restore the UK’s financial credibility following the brief premiership of Liz Truss.
Mr. Hunt is expected to discuss the “difficult decisions” made to stabilize markets after his predecessor’s disastrous mini-budget.
Not only prosperity from emerging from a recession.
But long-term, sustainable, healthy growth that pays for our NHS and schools, creates decent jobs for young people and provides a safety net for the elderly, all while making our nation one of the wealthiest in the world.