To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to provide financial support to the wraparound and holiday childcare sector during the period of national restrictions announced in January 2021.
5 February 2021
Ensuring sufficient childcare for families continues to be a government priority. This is why we have ensured that wraparound childcare settings have been able to remain open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers during the current national lockdown, in line with those children eligible to attend school for onsite provision. We have also updated our guidance to support providers to operate as safely as possible: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.
We recognise that the wraparound childcare sector, like many sectors, is facing unprecedented financial pressures, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is for this reason that the government has made a range of financial packages of support available for businesses to access throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes tax relief, business loans or cash grants through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and the Self-Employed Support Scheme (SEISS), as well as a £594 million discretionary fund for councils and the devolved administrations to support local businesses that may not be eligible for other support during the current national lockdown.
We are also still encouraging all local authorities to consider using local grants that have been made available to them during the COVID-19 outbreak to support the wraparound childcare sector in their areas and to safeguard sufficient childcare provision for all families. This includes the expanded Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which comprises a £220 million fund to be delivered through grants to local authorities. This programme will give children eligible for free school meals the option to join a free holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays in 2021.