Children: Day Care

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support women returning to work to access childcare as restrictions to address the COVID-19 pandemic are eased.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government funds a generous package of free and subsidised childcare. Parents can find out more about the support they can get at: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.

The government recognises the importance of childcare to families. Early years was one of the first sectors in which COVID-19 restrictions were eased. Since 1 June, early years providers have been able to open to all children, and since 20 July, they have been able to return to their normal group sizes.

We are providing extra security to nurseries and childminders that are open by ‘block-buying’ childcare places for the rest of this year at the level we would have funded before the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of how many children are attending. We have also made temporary changes to ensure that eligible parents who experienced a reduction or increase in income as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak retain their eligibility for the entitlement to 30 hours of free childcare a week.

Local authorities are responsible for ensuring there are sufficient childcare places during the COVID-19 outbreak. Parents who are experiencing difficulties in obtaining childcare should contact their local authority directly.

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