Free Childcare Scheme - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:07 pm on 20 March 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, Lords Spokesperson (Equalities) 3:07, 20 March 2024

The first thing I would say is that the noble Baroness and the noble Lord are right that this is a very ambitious expansion of childcare. However, the really significant increase in capacity will be in September 2025, so we have some time to put in place what is needed to deliver on that. The noble Lord talked about the number of nurseries that have closed. I know he is also aware that the childcare workforce has gone up year on year, over 2022-23, and is up by 40,000 places—I mean that the number of places has increased in the past five years by 40,000, while there has been a 1% annual decline in nought to five year-olds.