Easington MP, Grahame Morris, is one of several MPs who have written to the Chancellor, to express concern about recent changes that the Government has made to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and how these changes will impact childcare providers and nurseries.
On 17 April, the Government released updated guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, announcing that it is placing new limits on the level of support that childcare providers in receipt of ‘free entitlement’ funding can benefit from.
Prior to this recent announcement, the early years sector had been operating under the understanding that, as outlined on 24 March, the Government would contribute eighty percent of wages up to £2,500 for employees who are not working but are kept on payroll. The letter explains that, at the time, the Government stated that, ‘settings can access this scheme while continuing to be paid the early entitlements funding via local authorities.’
Many childcare providers have already taken decisions regarding budgeting, planning, and furloughing staff, with the original guidance in mind. The changes in Government support will be particularly damaging for a sector which was already struggling financially before the Coronavirus crisis. Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme mean that childcare providers will potentially have to make staff redundant, and may even result in the permanent closure of early years settings. It was only with the original support announced under the Scheme that the sector was able to guarantee job security for staff, as well as continue to provide vital care for the community.
The letter concludes by calling on the Government to ensure that childcare providers ‘are not left behind in their hour of need,’ and that the sector receives the crucial support that it needs.
Grahame Morris MP said, “Childcare providers cannot afford to be excluded from Government support. It is vital that this sector receives adequate support, as it continues to provide excellent care for the children of key workers. The Government must intervene as a matter of urgency so that no early years setting suffers as a result of this crisis.”