The novel coronavirus has affected many sectors across the UK, including the childcare sector which is currently facing unprecedented financial challenges.
Due to the significant decrease in income and social distancing rules, a number of parents` capacity has been limited which is negatively impacting the childcare sector, MPs and business leaders warned.
The Sutton Trust revealed that about a third of nurseries in most disadvantaged areas of England might cease to operate due to financial challenges caused by the coronavirus lockdown. The permanent closure of early years education providers would seriously damage the young children from poorer backgrounds.
The trust, an educational charity, has urged the government of the UK to spend £88m to protect the childcare sector in line with the support for schools.
A letter to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, was written by the women`s organisation the Fawcett Society, along with UK business bodies and MPs, highlighting the economic imperative of supporting the sector in order to protect women`s contribution to the workplace.
The chief executive of the Fawcett Society, Sam Smethers, the national chair of Federation of Small Businesses, Mike Cherry and the former children`s minister Tim Loughton, co-signed the letter, calling on the government to act immediately.
The letter stated: “The risk we face is that as businesses start to recover and the economy begins to open up, the childcare sector will have been so significantly harmed by this crisis that there will be insufficient affordable, quality provision to enable parents to get back to work and support that recovery. We, therefore, urge you to act and provide urgent additional financial support to the sector.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, a number of early years providers were already struggling financially and have depended on emergency government support to continue in operation.
A spokesperson from the Department for Education had previously said that the government was providing huge financial assistance to protect childcare providers – including through the coronavirus job retention scheme.