Parents fear 30 hours’ free childcare will lead to poorer services

Insight reveals parents’ concerns towards new Government policy effective from September

  • Just over half of UK parents aware of the Government’s new policy
  • Less than half think they will be eligible
  • Almost six in 10 think the policy will improve their financial situation

30 AUGUST 2017: Nearly half of British parents aren’t aware of the landmark Government policy which, from this Friday, will give families access to 30 hours’ free childcare a week – up from 15 hours previously.

The revelation follows polling of over 2,000 parents which found that, in addition to a lack of awareness, there are also growing concerns that the policy could lead to renewed financial pressures on local registered childcare providers.

In fact, the research conducted by comparethemarket.com revealed that more than a quarter (28%) of parents polled actually believe that the policy could lead to a decline in the quality of childcare services being provided.

Adding to the degree of uncertainty around the policy, findings also highlighted that over half of UK parents (51%) aren’t even sure whether they are eligible for the new policy or not, whilst over a third (36%) admit that they didn’t know whether their providers would offer the new policy.

Whilst acknowledging a potential impact on providers, the majority of the parents polled are confident that the policy will provide their families with a bit of financial relief. Indeed, almost six in 10 (59%) parents polled who are eligible for the policy, expect to see an improvement in their household finances as a result.

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Shakila Hashmi

Head of Money

comparethemarket.com

“On the face of it, this policy stands to help many families up and down the country who face significant childcare bills every month. We know that childcare is not only a huge expense, but often a huge worry too. Therefore, the Government’s decision to increase the amount of free childcare is a welcome policy for many parents, who are already facing growing financial pressures elsewhere.

“However, whilst it is heartening to hear that the majority of parents eligible for the policy think that it will improve their finances, there are a significant number of families who won’t benefit from the policy at all. In fact, there are concerns that this new policy could put increased cost pressures on those families with children not eligible for the free places, with many nurseries admitting to having to increase their fees. With childcare an often unavoidable expense, families who face these increasing costs need to be savvier than ever. Simple things like shopping around for the best deals on other household costs, from broadband to home insurance, could help keep bills as low as possible.”  

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