15 January 2018
Childcare providers are likely to receive an increased hourly funding rate of £4.00, a report from Suffolk County Council’s School Forum has revealed. Providers in Suffolk and nationally have been warning of a crisis within the childcare industry for many months now, with countless businesses struggling to stay afloat due to a disgraceful lack of funding and support.
Opposition councillors have welcomed the recommended change, but questioned why this was not resolved earlier. Cllr Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group Spokesperson for Children’s Services and Education, commented:
“This is great news for childcare providers and families in Suffolk. It’s just a shame that it has taken the council this long to acknowledge the severe strain that our childcare providers are under.
Most providers I have spoken to are struggling to give quality childcare on the £3.87 per hour they currently receive from Suffolk County Council, and we are reaching crisis point. The Government has expressed that all providers should receive an average funding rate of £4.00 per hour, and it is only right that we should bring our policy in line with this.”
This follows an opposition motion in October 2017, supported by members of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group, which called on Suffolk County Council to increase the amount of funding that was passed on to providers. In 2017-18, the council centrally retained approximately £2 million (6.8%) of the funding received from the government, and providers received an hourly sum of £3.87. Unfortunately, the Conservative majority refused to listen to the concerns of providers, campaigners and councillors, and voted against the motion in October.
However, a paper which will appear before the Schools Forum on Thursday 11 January recommends that the base hourly rate for providers should increase to £4.00, whilst the amount retained by Suffolk County Council should reduce to 3.8%. Other changes include a new mechanism for distributing both disadvantage funding and the SEN inclusion fund.
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