Chancellor needs to go further after re-commitment to childcare funding plan

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt holding the Chancellor of the Exchequer's red briefcase.

Responding to the Chancellor's Spring Budget announced on 6 March 2024, Alice Martin, Head of Research at the Work Foundation at Lancaster University said:

“The Chancellor re-committed to his funding plan for childcare which has the potential to support more women into more secure work over the next four years.

“At the moment a lack of availability of childcare provision is a significant factor as to why women are 2.3 times more likely to be in severely insecure work, as they often have to trade job security for the flexibility they need.

“While the Chancellor reassured childcare providers that the rate provided for the roll out of free hours will increase over the next two years to cover rising wages and training, providers have consistently warned this is not enough.

“The increased funding does not resolve the gaping hole in nursery budgets – and the desperately low wages of their workforce. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has reported the childcare sector has faced a 13% real terms funding cut since 2017/18.

“Without a comprehensive workforce plan for childcare – including improved pay and progression routes – the sector will continue to struggle to recruit and help fulfil the Government’s promise. All the while, parents will be anxiously waiting to see if they can find a nursery place for their child so they can re-enter the workforce.”

Back to News