Complete chaos

untitled (240)According to news reports yesterday, George Osborne wants people running Nurseries and Pre-Schools to come up with ideas to help him achieve his promise to double the amount of free childcare available to working parents of three and four year to 30 hours a week by September 2016. The implication of this request is that he doesn’t have the resources to fund this promise from the exchequer. The idea to double the provision was included in the Conservative Party manifesto with a delivery date of 2017 and as most commentators believe, like the other promises in the manifesto it was intended as a spoiler for the anticipated hung Parliament. However a few days after the election the new Government brought forward this promise for delivery a year ahead of the original idea. The current contract for the 15 hours of free child care is based on a payment of £5 per hour. Providing care for very young children depends on high levels of staffing and inevitably substantial levels of administration. In many cases this sum is not sufficient to cover the costs of the care, so the businesses and charities which provide early years education essentially cross subsidise the free sessions by charging more in the sessions that they can charge parents for directly. Even assuming that the additional 30 hours will be provided at the same rate, this will drastically reduce the capacity of settings to provide this cross subsidy. A further challenge for many settings is that the commitment to raise the minimum wage of £6.50 to a nominal living wage level of £7.20 next April will potentially add 10% onto the direct costs for these organisations six months before he wants to change their weekly arrangements and may be expecting them to actually provide this provision without very much more money. It is a fascinating concept, the idea of a Politician offering something in May that will reduce incomes by 2017, then promising to introduce this reduction a year sooner in June, then imposing an increase in costs in July as part of the budget and finally asking those whose business models have been squeezed as a result of these promises and increases to help him work out how to achieve all he has in mind with no additional money in August. Perhaps we need to wait till September to find out what these chaotic Politicians have in mind next.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Charities, Economics, Parliament and Democracy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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