On Friday I paid another visit to Bristol Children’s Playhouse, a nursery that’s been running for 40 years in Eastville. I spoke to manager Sarah about some of the issues the nursery is facing during the cost-of-living crisis. While the Government does provide some funding towards childcare costs for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds, the hourly rate has not increased since 2016.

Early Years providers like Bristol Children’s Playhouse are losing out as a result, and some can’t pay their staff more than minimum wage. Sadly many staff are leaving the sector entirely to take up jobs at supermarkets and call centres. Sarah explained the crisis in a Guardian podcast, which you can listen to here.

I’ve already written to the Education Secretary about some of the wider issues regarding the crisis in the childcare sector and it’s clear that if the Government wants to encourage more people into work, or to extend their hours – as the Chancellor said in his recent Autumn Statement – sorting out childcare provision is a must.

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