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30-hour free childcare plans ‘unlikely to succeed’

Plans to extend free childcare for three and four year olds to 30 hours a week outlined the Queen’s Speech will fail unless the government provides greater financial support charities claim.

The Pre-school Learning Alliance has said that while it welcomes plans to improve the availability of childcare, “they unfortunately remain unlikely to succeed in practice” because the government has “done very little to address concerns that the free childcare scheme is severely underfunded”.

Their chief executive pointed to existing research into free provision that identifies funding shortfalls of around 20%. “As a result, many are being forced to increase the cost of paid-for hours, resulting in higher childcare costs for parents. Extending the free childcare offer without first addressing these funding gaps will only exacerbate this problem further.”

Meanwhile a group of charities, consisting of Contact a FamilyEvery Disabled Child Matters and the Family and Childcare Trust, has warned that the childcare proposals do not address the lack of availability of childcare for disabled children.