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Move To Extend Subsidised Childcare On Hold

Two deputies have pulled back from a plan to try to extend government-subsidised childcare, saying the sector is struggling to cope with current demand.

Deputies Sasha Kazantseva-Miller and Heidi Soulsby had wanted to find ways of offering help to parents with very young children to get back to work.

But the pair say those who work in the industry have made it clear that it is already difficult to accommodate the number of families needing places because of problems finding staff.

Deputy Kazantseva-Miller says they will ask politicians to agree to a review of the industry instead.

"We saw that it was premature to run before we could walk in that we could not progress the ambition behind our amendment before the States could develop a better understanding of the challenges facing the childcare providers and how these could be addressed”.

She told Island FM that addressing the problems with capacity need to be overcome.

"The childcare sector - the nurseries, the pre-schools, the childminders - will be able to share the concerns they have and be able to work with the experts to come up with some recommendations.

"It is important in our modern society to have the option (of childcare) for parents so that they are able to go back to employment.

That support provided to families is a critical economic enabler."

Guernsey currently offers 15 free nursery hours for three & four year olds during term-time.  A proposal had been to extend that to children from the age of two.

Last March, Guernsey retail sector called on the government to extend provision to help ease staff shortages in shops and other businesses.

In Jersey, parents get 30 hours free term-time childcare in the school year that their child turns four.

In the UK, the Tory government announced changes that are due to take effect  from this spring which will see working parents of two-year-olds able to access 15 hours of free childcare from April, extended to working parents of all children older than nine months from September 2024

From September 2025, working parents of children under five will be entitled to 30 hours' free childcare per week.

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