THE impact of the 30 hours of free childcare policy on providers has been highlighted in the National Day Nurseries Association’s annual survey.

The report emphasises some of the findings of the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Handle with Care report, released earlier this year, which found small childcare providers are struggling to make ends meet, with some considering closing their doors for good, due to a shortfall in Government funding for the scheme in England.

Brian Woods, the FSB’s regional chairman for Surrey and West Sussex, said: “The success of the 30 hours free entitlement depends on small childcare providers, which make up the majority of the marketplace, being able to provide an affordable, high-quality offer to parents.

“As is shown in both our and the National Day Nurseries Association reports, the reality is many providers are struggling financially, hit by rising business rates, operating costs and staffing costs, driven inadvertently by different ministerial decisions.

“The Government needs to recognise these specific pressures, and must urgently commit to reviewing the funding levels given to local authorities for the 30 hours scheme before the situation worsens.

“To help combat the ever-rising pressure heaped onto these small providers, we are also calling on the Government to create and fully-fund a new 100 per cent business rate relief scheme for childcare providers in England, as is in place in Scotland.

“It is time for the UK Government to step up and alleviate the pressure on England’s nurseries and pre-schools, so they can deliver high-quality childcare.”