To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the financial stability of early years and childcare providers in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.
1 March 2021
During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have provided unprecedented support to the early years sector by continuing to fund the free childcare entitlements, making grants and loans available and ensuring early years providers can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for their non-government funded income, and childminders the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). We continue to ensure that providers can access the support available.
As long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme, schools and early years providers are able to furlough their staff if they have experienced a drop in either their income from parents or government. Eligible nurseries can also benefit from a business rates holiday and can access the business loans as set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is inclusive of Coventry North East constituency, Coventry, the West Midlands, and England. We have not taken different approaches in different areas.
On 17 December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that both the CJRS and SEISS would be extended to April 2021. We also updated the CJRS guidance for early years so that all providers who have seen a drop in their overall income are able to furlough any staff (who were on payroll on or before 30 October) and who aren’t required for delivering the government’s funded entitlements. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.
Where early years providers are struggling financially, they may be eligible to access support from the Additional Restrictions Grant, if not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant schemes. Details on both grants are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-local-restrictions-support-grant-for-open-businesses.
We continue to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate, and affordable childcare is available for those who need it now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.