Thank you for contacting me about the impact of coronavirus on childcare and providers.
In response to the outbreak of coronavirus and the increasing number of confirmed cases in the UK, the Government has closed early years providers. Early years providers will only remain open to the children of critical workers who are vital to our fight against coronavirus, such as NHS staff, police and delivery drivers, and the most vulnerable children. Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care.
Clearly this decision will have a big impact on early years providers and so I am pleased that the Government has acted swiftly to support providers. To support private early years providers, the Chancellor has decided that they will now be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare will pay no business rates in 2020-21, from 1 April. The Secretary of State for Education has also confirmed that the Department for Education will continue to fully fund the free childcare entitlements, even if children are not attending. This protects a significant proportion of early years providers’ income.
I hope this has reassured you that support has been rolled out as a matter of urgency.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP