Family Lives Responds to Nick Clegg 'to block childcare ratio reforms

"The average family in the UK spends 27% of its income on childcare.  More needs to be done to ensure that families have a genuine choice of affordable quality childcare, easing the financial burden and ensuring that children get the most appropriate care at each point in their development.  Whilst raising the status and quality of the childcare workforce should be a key priority, we are concerned that this comes at the expense of higher staff/child ratios which will limit the extent to which practitioners can have close interaction with children and also relaxations of minimum space requirements which were rightly put in at the recommendation of professionals and a number of influential international reviews to ensure children are not overcrowded in settings.  

Funding the demand of childcare through direct subsidies to parents is not cost-effective and does not help to bring down the escalating cost of childcare places.  It would be much more effective to look at funding the supply of childcare, not-for-profit models and to think about setting minimum contributory costs for parents along the lines of the system in Quebec which sets costs to parents at $7 dollars per day."

Jeremy Todd,
Family Lives Chief Executive