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Jo Morris - Early Years Provider & Champagne Nurseries Lemonade Funding Founder

19th November 2022

"One of my jobs today is to spend 2 hours entering details into the portal and writing out paperwork for the families who start receiving funding in January - I’m not allowed to use any of the funding to pay that admin time, only the Local Authorities are allowed to take some of our funding for admin.

Let’s take 10 families of those families (there are more but let’s keep this simple in the vein hope that the DfE can understand multiples of 10) they are not new families, they are families who have been paying for childcare, most using Tax Free Childcare, Student Grants or Universal credit.

The hours that we have been receiving £6.30 for, we will now get £4.70 in funding for, that’s a difference of £1824 over the course of the year (1140 hours) so that’s £18240 less coming in next year from those 10 families.

Additional services fees can plug some of the gap, but these have to be voluntary, the legislation is very clear on that, so we may, or may not receive them.

Yesterday announcement on NMW has less of an impact on us than on many as we pay over NMW currently so the gap is smaller for us to get to the new NMW, but it will still add £7000 to our wage bill JUST to keep our wonderful team on NMW so trying to keep them above it and give incremental raises to our managers will see around £12,000 added to our wage bill.

So we know we will be invoicing £18240 less for 10 families and paying £12,000 more for our staff team, a total gap of £30,240 next year, it is not only 10 families, we have more than that who are eligible so this gap will be bigger than £30,240, maybe a bit less if families choose to pay additional services for the things that the funding doesn’t cover.

Funding has been frozen since 2017, NMW has risen by 38% by then and energy, food, training, uniform, etc, etc has all gone up too.

The numbers are eye watering and without a drastic shake up of the funding system, the 4000 settings that have closed in the last year will be joined by many many more.

The system is not fit for purpose, despite these huge losses for settings, parents are still paying some of the highest costs in the world, this shambles of a system is not their fault at all and our wonderful staff who the Government repeatedly tell us are invaluable, do then value them at £10.42 an hour - a tiny bit more if we can make the figures work.

I have no doubt that this post will be ignored by the DfE, they have consistently failed to listen to the sector, but if we stop speaking out then they go along completely unchallenged, destroying our businesses and demoralising our workforce, so on we go."

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It's simply NOT good enough!  The Government are crippling our sector, our parents and our children... and they KNOW IT!

We must stand together and fight for change!

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