Statistics show that hundreds of thousands of parents have missed the help of paying for childcare, and the billions of dollars allocated to the government’s flagship “tax-free childcare” program have not been spent.
According to data from the Ministry of Finance, new data show that in the past four years, tax-free childcare has been spent less than £2.37 billion, and only a small number of parents who are eligible for childcare assistance have accepted the proposal.
Statistics show that since the introduction of tax-free childcare services in 2017, the government’s annual expenditure on tax-free childcare has been lower than expected. According to Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Children and Early Education, Tulip Siddiq’s answer to a parliamentary question, spending in 2020-21 will be less than £660 million, the same as the previous year.
Siddiq said: “The Conservative Party has completely failed to provide parenting support for working families and has pushed the early education department to the brink of collapse.” “This is the fourth consecutive year that the government has failed to fulfill its promise to provide parenting support, but the ministers seem to be on this. Do nothing.”
The data also shows that the government’s initial forecast for the amount of money used in the program has decreased year-on-year– Initial prediction From Office of Budget Responsibility From 2017 to 2021, it was 3 billion pounds in March 2017 and fell to 1.62 billion pounds in the fall of 2017-but the actual expenditure during 2017-2021 was 630 million pounds.
In September, 316,000 of an estimated 1.5 million eligible families used tax-exempt childcare services—meaning that only one-fifth of eligible families participated in the program.
Duty-free childcare services Seeing parents pay for childcare from government accounts. For every 8 pounds paid by parents, the government will increase it by 2 pounds per year, up to a maximum of 2,000 pounds, until the child is 11 years old-disabled children can increase up to 4,000 pounds before the age of 17.
Joeli Brearley, founder and CEO of Pregnant Then Screwed, said the system is “difficult to navigate” and a large percentage of parents are unaware of its existence.
“Obviously, the ministers have not yet mastered this issue, which is understandable-they are busy people and it is really complicated-the only way to ensure that further funds are not wasted and that this department is supported is what it needs It’s an independent review,” she said.
Parenting issues were debated in parliament in September More than 100,000 parents signed the petition Call for an independent review of childcare funding and affordability.according to data According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Kingdom has the third most expensive childcare system in the world, second only to Slovakia and Switzerland; a full-time place spends an average of £12,376 per year.
In June Early League (EYA) Blaming the Minister Insufficient funds in the early years of “shamelessly, knowingly committed” After a survey showed that the funding rate for providing “free” childcare services for three- and four-year-olds in 2020-21 was less than two-thirds of what the government believed was needed, the department in England.
In the expenditure review, the Ministry of Finance announced 170 million pounds of additional funding per year Increase the hourly rate of childcare providers until 2024-25. But Neil Leitch, CEO of EYA, said that this was not enough to make up for the historic gap and called for the underspending to be reinvested in the industry, which lost more than 3,000 suppliers in 2021 .
Leitch said: “Despite the lack of funding for historic departments in the early years and the continued impact of the pandemic, this means that many suppliers still face an uphill battle to maintain their business.”
A government spokesperson said: “We have always encouraged eligible families to sign up for the program through stakeholders, social media and the press, and will continue to explore ways to further increase acceptance.”