I am urgently asking for your help, and the help of your readers, in addressing the very real concerns that I have about the impact of new government guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which will lead to widespread job losses in early year settings across Cumbria.
Last week the government issued new guidance that at the moment is very unclear as to how early year settings will be financially supported during this very difficult period. And this uncertainty is causing great anxiety and stress for anyone involved in this sector.
Therefore I am writing to you, and your readers, to ask for an urgent review of the government’s decision which you can do by lobbying your local MP.
This guidance will have a devastating impact on our early year’s sector and Cumbria County Council will be lobbying hard to get the new guidance changed.
The Government had previously announced that it will continue to pay local authorities the money for the funded childcare hours – where families receive up to 30 hours of early education and childcare for their three and four year olds as well as some two year-olds and at the same time, we were told that nurseries could furlough staff under the CJRS aimed to protect jobs.
This position has now changed. On top of this many early years settings are excluded from accessing other grants designed to help businesses through this crisis like the £10,000 grant for small businesses as generally early year settings are too large and they are also excluded from applying for the £25,000 grants which are expressly just for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
The new policy, which was announced without warning just a day before the CJRS opens has left many early year settings in an impossible position and facing a very uncertain future. If this scheme goes ahead with the exclusions outlined last week families returning to work past COVID -19 may lose childcare support which will be vital to the country’s economic recovery plans as we start to go back to business as usual.
Please join Cumbria County Council in asking the Government to urgently reverse this decision and consider the impact it will have on the ability of providers to deliver the emergency childcare places that are needed now and the long-term sufficiency of places for children that will be needed in the future.
Cllr Sue Sanderson