Nurseries: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th April 2020.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to provide support for parents with children at nurseries that are closed but require fees to be paid that are (a) self-isolating, (b) diagnosed with covid-19, (c) temporarily on Statutory Sick Pay and (d) claiming employment and support allowance as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether nurseries receiving support with the cost of employee salaries should stop or reduce charges to parents for services not being provided as a result of the closure of childcare and education settings.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We are working hard to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on all parts of our society, including individuals and business. Childcare providers will have individual agreements with parents and therefore we urge all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

We acknowledge that in many cases, the insurance that early years providers have will not cover them for income lost during COVID-19-related closures. That is one of the reasons why we announced on 17 March that we will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the early years entitlements for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds and that funding would not be clawed back from local authorities due to closures or children being unable to attend.

We expect local authorities to follow the Department for Education’s position and to continue paying childminders, schools and nurseries for the early years entitlements – even if providers have suspended delivery of those entitlements due to COVID-19. This protects a significant proportion of early years providers’ income. In addition, the government has set out a range of support for businesses and workers to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on them. Many early years providers will qualify for this support.

This support being provided for individuals includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which means that for each employee not working but kept on payroll, the government will contribute 80% of their wages up to £2,500, backdated to 1 March 2020. Self-employed people may be eligible for taxable grants under the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Further details of these schemes can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

Details of further assistance and benefits available for individuals can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19.

We will be keeping under close review what further support businesses and workers may require.

Guidance on closures of childcare and early years settings is available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

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