Research for City Hall revealed that two-thirds of London’s nurseries report that they are on the verge of collapse, with those in the most deprived areas being at the greatest disadvantage,
This research, commissioned by the Greater London Authority, investigated the current financial position of London’s early years providers, their business support needs as they move through the Covid-19 pandemic and considered ways in which they could be met in the post Covid-19 pandemic era.
The report found that 64% of nurseries and 56% of childminders indicated that for financial reasons they were at immediate risk of closure or concerned they will not be operating in 12 months’ time.
Furthermore, most providers were pleased with the support they have received in the past and would like to access more through a range of delivery methods.
Additionally, 42% of providers had accessed some business support in the last three years and of these 70% rated the support as either excellent or good.
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan recognises that the early years sector is essential to the capital’s economy, providing access to high quality early education and childcare and enabling parents to work. The sector also has a vital role to play in promoting social cohesion and closing the inequality gap between children from poorer backgrounds and their better-off peers.
During the first lockdown, London saw a rapid closure of childcare settings and huge financial pressure on those that remained open whilst facing significant overhead costs, at the same time as a massive reduction in income from parents.
Even once the lockdown had ended, many parents chose to keep their children at home which continued to impact funding levels for providers.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
‘I want to thank everyone working in the early years sector for the extraordinary dedication and resilience they have shown this past year.
‘This research exposes the extent of the crisis the sector faces in our capital.” “We know that working mothers are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and are more likely to have lost their jobs – the result of structural inequality that has long existed.
‘That is why I am calling on the Government to do everything in its power to support these key services, which are vital to London’s economic recovery, a lifeline for many of London’s working families, and a fundamental part of our duty of care to London’s children.’
The Mayor’s comments follow data published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) which shows women bear a disproportionate share of the burden when it comes to childcare, with mothers 47 per cent more likely than fathers to have permanently lost their job or quit since the start of the first lockdown, and 14 per cent more likely to have been furloughed.