Day nurseries have been in the news recently, they are struggling to pay for dwindling numbers of qualified staff, with underfunded government “free” places and parents finding day nursery fees increasingly unaffordable. Half the day nurseries in the country are already running at a loss yet nurseries are now faced with local authorities really twisting the knife, increasing business rates by staggering amounts.
Cheryl Hadland, Managing Director of Tops Day Nurseries, a group of nurseries with 17 day nurseries across the South says “Despite schools having their business rates and VAT repaid by the government, day nurseries do not benefit from these refunds, and from April next year they are due to be truly clobbered, with increases of up to 129%. Our Boscombe nursery has been hit with an 85% increase, at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital with 101%, Parkstone 72%, Poole 50%, Wareham 129%, Wimborne 28%, Corfe Mullen 30%, IOW 28.6%, Portsmouth 26% and Lakeside 33%.”
“These amount to a bill of well over £100,000 in extra overheads for next year. We will have no choice but to increase fees to parents at a time when the government are promising help to parents wanting to work, this makes no sense, and everyone needs to know what is going on. We are writing to our local MP’s and councillors and will be starting a petition asking for fair treatment. Either stop these increases or increase funding for free places.”
The increase in the National Living Wage to £7.50 means even higher wage bills. As government funding fails to keep up with nurseries’ soaring costs, this is another blow to sustainability. We need the government to act now to support nurseries in order for them to be in a position to deliver its ambitious 30 hours of funded childcare next year.
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