children playing

Childcare cash boost in England ‘grossly underestimates’ needs, say providers

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
Quinn, B.
Publication Date: 
7 Jul 2023


A £204m fund described by the government as the biggest investment in childcare ever “grossly underestimates” what early-years providers need to keep their doors open, representatives of the sector have said.

The increase, announced in March’s budget, comes as the government also announced plans for a “wraparound” childcare plan for England.

Sixteen councils have been selected to develop the plans for parents of primary school-age children in England in the Department for Education’s “largest ever” investment in childcare.

The introduction of the scheme, which will provide care between 8am and 6pm as part of efforts to support more parents to return to work, is to begin next summer.


But the announcement was criticised by Rachel Carrell, the founder and CEO of Koru Kids, a childcare company that previously featured in a conflict of interest row over Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, having shares in the firm.

While Carrell gave a qualified welcome to the announcement, she said she was disappointed that it was “totally unclear” who was going to deliver the wraparound care, adding there was a lack of crucial detail.

“Above all, I really hope that the government isn’t going to assume that what’s needed is a massive expansion of one-size-fits-all ‘after school clubs in the school hall’. One size does not fit every child, or every family. Some children can thrive with a long day – others can’t cope at all.”


“Given that government’s own figures show that there is a £1.8bn shortfall in the existing three- and-four-year-old offer, how can anyone argue that a mere 6% increase in funding will come anywhere close to easing the pressures facing the sector, especially in the face of sky-high rates of inflation?” said Neil Leitch, the CEO of the lobby group.