One in 10 rural childcare providers could close this winter

One in 10 childcare providers in England’s counties are at risk of closure this winter, council leaders have warned.

A new study carried out by the County Councils Network (CCN) of upper tier local authorities found that every single respondent felt up to 10% of their childcare providers could close this winter rising to one in four in some areas, even without a second wave of the pandemic.

The study found that councils believe the government’s interventions have helped stave off closures so far in 2020, but that providers have only ‘weathered the storm’ and will face financial difficulty without further support into the winter.

In total, 80% of county councils which responded to the survey believed up to one in 10 local providers are at risk.

Whilst the remaining 20% were worried that figure could be as high as one in four in their areas due to increased costs of opening safely, and declining demand during the looming recession.

‘Rural and remote areas of counties where there is already a dearth of childcare could be the most vulnerable, impacting on parents and children alike, and hampering the economic recovery efforts,’ said the CCN’s children and young people spokesperson, Cllr Keith Glazier.

‘This is why we will need further financial support, and the freedoms for councils to direct these funds to the areas where closures will be most catastrophic.’

Last week, the announced it was teaming up with Newton Europe to explore the key themes’ of social care reform.

Commenting on the CCN survey, the chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, Neil Leitch said: ‘Closures on the scale forecast by this research would not only lead to tens of thousands of young children missing out on vital early education, but also parents losing access to childcare at a time when many are already struggling to balance work and family commitments.

‘The CCN is absolutely right to highlight the particularly detrimental impact that this would have in more remote areas, where closures could mean that families are simply no longer to access formal childcare at all.’

 

Photo Credit – Design_Miss_C (Pixabay)

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