Ahead of the 2017 Autumn Statement, Andrew is urging the Chancellor to provide funds to ensure childcare providers avoid closure, and are able to meet the demands of 30 hours free childcare per week.
Hundreds of nurseries are at risk of closure across the country as a result of the Government’s plans.
The Government’s new Early Years Funding formula leaves over one quarter of local authorities facing a reduction in funding, and many others still unable to meet rising costs that result from expanded childcare places. Nurseries are facing a crisis.
Childcare professionals, local authorities, and parents have been clear that fair and proper funding will be necessary to ensure the 30 hours pledge is not another broken promise. Andrew is joining them by demanding that the Government provides the funding and keeps its promises to parents and teachers across the country.
Following the launch of a Labour campaign to safeguard nurseries and childcare, Andrew said: “I am very concerned about the continuing lack of early years provision and threats to its future. The Labour Party's Sure Start Grant which funded many children’s centres and nurseries was one of the things first cut in 2010 when the Coalition Government took power. It is awful to see that a great and valuable initiative is continuing to be underfunded.
Save the Children research shows evidence of a wider trend revealing that there has been a significant reduction in the quality and quantity of childcare provision across Oxfordshire, as in the country more generally. Between 2009 and 2015 the number of childcare places in Oxfordshire fell by over 2,000 and the number of childcare providers fell by over 200. This is deeply concerning, especially for many constituents relying on the valuable service provided by Nurseries and Childcare Centres.
With my fellow Labour MPs I am calling on the Chancellor to set out a sustainable funding plan for Early Years Education in the forthcoming Autumn statement. It is vital that the funding for this is put in place.”