UK PM Rishi Sunak faces criticism over childcare pledge


The United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been accused of “disastrous failure” in delivering his key free childcare pledge amid reports of delays to its rollout.


Challenges in funding allocation, staff shortages, and IT issues hinder the timely implementation of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s free childcare promise, the Times reported.


The ambitious plan outlined by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last March, offering working parents of children as young as nine months 30 hours of free childcare per week, is encountering obstacles, as reported by The Times.


Nurseries, critical components of the childcare scheme, are reportedly left in the dark about the compensation they will receive for each allocated place.


This lack of information raises doubts about the immediate implementation of the government’s commitment. Furthermore, there are apprehensions about the September extension, with concerns over a shortage of nursery staff.


The Times suggests that thousands of families may need to re-enter details into the HMRC IT system in March, risking payment delays if neglected.


Initial miscalculations by the Department for Education (DfE) regarding the scheme’s cost have led to delays in childcare providers learning the extent of funding they will receive.


Labour has seized the opportunity to criticize the Conservative government, with Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson calling the childcare commitment a “disastrous failure.”


She said; “First the chaos of crumbling concrete buildings, then the botched budgets for our schools, now the disastrous failure on delivering childcare commitments, with families paying the price.


“Funded hours are no good if families can’t access them – the Conservatives’ promise to parents now lies in tatters because there was no plan behind the pledge in last year’s Budget Statement.”


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