Commenting on reports that the government may be about to reform childcare regulations, Annabel Denham, Director of Communications at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:
“Loosening teacher:child ratios would be a welcome step towards wider deregulation of childcare. The UK has among the strictest ratios in Western Europe, with some countries, including Denmark and Sweden, having no ratio requirements at all. A 2018 study for the Department for Education found that 78 per cent of costs in childcare are for staff: the higher the ratio, the more staff required, raising costs for nurseries and depressing wages for workers.
“It would be sensible to leave the decision on ratios to individual providers, who will understand their own requirements and the needs of the children in their care better than Whitehall bureaucrats. In the past two decades successive governments have pumped up demand through subsidies while restricting supply with regulation and formalisation, leading to sky-high costs for parents, nursery closures, and the departure of cheaper alternatives like childminders from the sector. Not to mention the cost to the taxpayer, of roughly £6bn per year. A change of direction is long overdue.”
Notes to editors
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