On Friday 17 July, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced that from August 1, employees can begin to bring workers back if it is safe and also necessary to do so.
His announcement stopped there. No plans to support parents getting back to work seamlessly and also, absolutely no mention of the long asked for additional funding for the early years sector. The sector is already worryingly underfunded and many settings have already closed due to the financial strain of Covid-19.
To avoid any further closures, there needs to be a complete overhaul of the system, providing better funding and ultimately giving parents more access to childcare.
Leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer has accused the Prime Minister of putting parents in an “impossible position” by urging them to go back to the workplace next month, without offering any support for the struggling childcare sector.
‘Despite ordering millions of parents back to the office, the prime minister has refused to provide any extra help for families, penalising parents by putting them in an impossible position.
‘Parents got a back-to-work notice on Friday just as the summer holidays began. But they got no support for structured activities, no summer catch-up schemes, and no support for a childcare sector on its knees.’
Commenting, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:
‘Keir Starmer is absolutely right to join us in condemning the government’s lack of support for the childcare sector.
‘We have long been calling on the government to provide the transitional funding the sector urgently needs to survive, and yet despite the fact that one in four providers fear permanent closure within 12 months, these calls continue to fall on deaf ears.
‘If the government is serious about supporting parents and rebooting the economy, it cannot afford to sit by and watch thousands more childcare providers go out of business.
‘Now more than ever, the government must show real leadership on this issue and provide the sector with the funding it desperately needs to survive, and to ensure that parents can continue to access high quality and affordable childcare as they return to work.’