Speaking during a visit to the London Early Years Foundation’s Bessborough Nursery and Pre-school in Pimlico today (16 July), Tulip Siddiq emphasised that mass closures of nurseries could lead to many parents, particularly mothers, losing their jobs and undermining the country's economic recovery.
‘We’ve already lost 14,000 childcare providers in the last five years and we simply cannot afford to lose any more,’ she said.
‘It’s time for Ministers to get serious about supporting families in this pandemic and step in with a proper plan to save the childcare sector.’
She was accompanied on the visit by Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary.
Parents whose children attend Bessborough Nursery and Pre-School told the Shadow Ministers about how they could not get back to work without the childcare that the nursery provides.
Research suggests that 25 per cent of childcare providers may not survive this crisis, and Labour is warning that closures on this scale would devastate working families and the economy.
Labour is calling for the early years sector to receive the targeted support it needs, to help providers cope with substantially reduced income and higher costs during this pandemic, for which no specific support is currently available.
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June O’Sullivan, CEO of London Early Years Foundation (pictured above centre, flanked by Kate Green on the left and Tulip Siddiq, right) said:‘The staff at Bessborough Nursery and Pre-School and other LEYF nurseries have done an amazing job during this pandemic by providing a fourth emergency service to both the children of key workers and the most vulnerable.
‘Nurseries rely on occupancy to survive. However, with relatively low levels of occupancy due to coronavirus – it is very difficult to stay afloat. I have to check every day that we have enough money to keep our nurseries going and very concerned that some nurseries, particularly in disadvantaged areas, may be forced to close for good.
‘The early years sector is crying out for help and recognition from the Government in this time of crisis. Nurseries are a vital infrastructure to the economy by allowing parents to go to work whilst helping people out of poverty. If the Prime Minister is committed to getting Britain up and running, then this must start with our nurseries.’