Labour Market

Small-scale reforms insufficient to fix Britain’s ‘broken’ childcare system


Housing and Planning

Kristian Niemietz referenced in Investors' Chronicle

Annabel Denham writes in The Spectator

IEA Director of Communications Annabel Denham has written in The Spectator criticising the government’s decision to scrap a planned overhaul of childcare regulations.

Annabel wrote:

“The Truss administration made many missteps, but on childcare it was on the right track. Though details were lacking, the blink-and-you-miss-her prime minister was planning to rush through ‘big bang’ changes to childcare provision that would bring down costs both for parents and providers.

“But it has now been reported that Rishi Sunak will shelve these proposals indefinitely and, if they are ever dusted off, it’s likely the scale of reform will be much smaller. This is a mistake. Our pre-school and childcare sector is broken. It’s unaffordable both for parents and the taxpayer and increasingly inaccessible.”

Annabel highlighted overzealous staff : child ratio mandates as a key issue:

“The UK has among the strictest ratios in western Europe, with some countries, including Denmark and Sweden, having no 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.

“The points isn’t that ratios should be adjusted to a state-mandated level, but rather that the decision should be left to individual providers, who understand their own requirements and the needs of the children in their care far better than Whitehall bureaucrats.”

You can read Annabel’s full piece here.