Thousands of childminders are unlikely to be eligible for the Government self-employed support scheme, according to a new survey by the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY).
The survey, completed by more than 5000 childminders across England and Wales, shows that the COVID-19 outbreak is having a devastating impact on childminders and many are at risk of closure just at the point when families will need their support to return to work.
Of particular concern are newly registered childminders who have invested in starting up their businesses in the last three years, who will not be covered by the scheme.
The survey also reveals that 40% of childminders who responded are not confident that their business will be able to survive the coronavirus outbreak.
PACEY is calling on the Government to:
provide a government grant for those not eligible or receiving very low levels of Government support, such as the newly registered and those on very low incomes, to help them to stay afloat and prevent the closure of childminder settings
reinstate its start-up grants for newly registered childminders so they are given the funding they need to set up their business
provide further support and training to enable childminders to develop sustainable businesses for the future and continue to provide the essential flexible and high quality childcare service that families and children need.
Liz Bayram, chief executive of PACEY, said: “Childminders are amongst the unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. Our survey reveals over half of them are open to provide childcare to vulnerable children and children of key workers, providing care in their own home despite the risk to their own families. They — like other early years and childcare providers — will play a critical role in supporting the UK to get back to work. More needs to be done to ensure childminding still provides the 250,000 high quality and flexible places that families across the country need.”
Last reviewed 8 May 2020