Welsh Government approves £60 million to support extension of free childcare

The Welsh Government has confirmed that it will invest £60 million across more than 100 childcare settings  throughout Wales extending funding to provide 30 hours of free childcare per week for three and four year olds. The provision will be available for working parents, extending existing pilots that are currently benefiting 5,000 children.

Some eligible parents are already being offered 20 hours free childcare on top of the existing 10 hours of early education provision.

Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for health and social services, said: “The investment we’re making will ensure the childcare offer is available to parents across Wales by ensuring there is sufficient childcare in the right areas, with a specific focus on developing new provision in areas that currently lack childcare services, in particular rural and disadvantaged areas. The investment will also support the growth and sustainability of the childcare sector across Wales, helping to create high-quality jobs in the sector.”

For more information, visit the Welsh Government website.

30 hours free childcare is already available for eligible families with three and four year old children in England.

Are there any plans to extend the 30 hours free childcare’ to Northern Ireland? 

Childcare matters are devolved in Northern Ireland. There is currently no Childcare Strategy, and any plans may be difficult to progress in the absence of an Assembly.

Our recently published Childcare Cost Survey 2018 reflected a call from many parents for similar support to be provided in Northern Ireland. Employers For Childcare is keen to explore how this model could be extended, provided that appropriate funding is allocated to support childcare providers to deliver this sustainably, and lessons are learned from other parts of the UK to ensure the support is targeted where it is most needed.

Employers For Childcare would welcome commitment to provide parents with additional support to access quality childcare, and greater investment in the sustainability of childcare providers. This would meet a number of the Government’s objectives including supporting the early development of children and enabling parents to access and stay in work.

We are keen to hear from childcare providers and parents on this issue. Please get in touch by emailing hello@employersforchildcare.org or call us on 028 9267 8200.