Report slams distribution of government's £9bn childcare spending

The Guardian provides coverage of a new report published today by Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central, and the Social Market Foundation which warns that the most disadvantaged families will receive just a small proportion of the extra government funding for early years education and childcare. The wealthiest families are set to benefit most from the extra spending, which the report says will leave children most in need “lagging further and further behind.”

The research looked at the total new spending allocated to early years education and childcare for 2017-2022 and found that just £250 million of the additional £9 billion spending will reach the most vulnerable children. Powell says that the UK is far behind other countries in terms of tackling disadvantage and promoting social mobility.

She commented: “Far from addressing this, over the next parliament this is set to get significantly worse with just 2.7% of new money for early education and care dedicated to the most vulnerable children, and only a quarter benefiting the bottom half by income of families.

“This huge skewing of resources seriously risks a widening developmental gap between disadvantaged children and their better off peers at the age of five, creating a lost generation who will struggle to ever catch up.”

The report says that every budget, bill and policy should be judged against tackling inequalities and boosting social mobility for everyone. Recommendations from the report include a new ten year Childcare Strategy which aims for universal free early education from age one to five, and a shift in public discourse which makes the case for early education and intervention for disadvantaged and low income families.

The full story can be read on the Guardian website, and the report viewed on the Social Market Foundation website.