Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years

@UKLabour on new government data showing over 2,500 childcare providers have closed 

Government data released today (15 Jun) shows that 2,500 childcare providers have been lost since the start of 2021.

This comes after the release of secret government documents by the Early Years Alliance showing that Ministers knew they have been underfunding early years – which is leading to these closures – and driving up childcare costs for parents.

Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, commenting on new government data showing that over 2,500 childcare providers have been lost since the start of the year, said:

"Labour has repeatedly warned that thousands of childcare providers could shut their doors forever without better support.

"This worrying data shows that our worst fears are being realised, with children, parents and our economy suffering as a result of the Government’s chronic underfunding and lack of pandemic support.

"The Government is failing to listen to families and must now take urgent steps to prevent further childcare closures and rebuild this essential infrastructure after a decade of neglect."

According to government statistics, there were 74,130 childcare providers in England as of 31st December 2020. The latest data release shows that there were 71,535 childcare providers as of 31st May 2021. This amounts to a loss of 2,595 childcare providers since the start of the year.


All provider types


Childcare on non-domestic premises

Childcare on domestic premises

Home childcarer

Position as at 31 December 2020






Position as at 31 May 2021






Net change







GOVERNMENT PLANS TO CUT FUNDING TO CHILDCARE SECTOR ON BRINK OF ITS COLLAPSE - 1 in 4 nurseries and childminders could close within the next 6 months due to planned cuts 

25th Nov 2020: Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, responding to new Early Years Alliance data showing that one in four nurseries could close within six months if the Government goes ahead with planned funding cuts from January, said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a hammer blow to childcare providers, many thousands of which are on the brink of collapse.

“At a time when targeted support is needed to save our nurseries and childminders, it beggars belief that Ministers are planning to slash their existing funding from January.

“The early years sector is essential for working families, young children and our economic recovery. It must be properly supported throughout this crisis rather than hung out to dry.”

Tuesday 24th November: New research announced today from the Early Years Alliance has found that 1 in 4 nurseries and childminders could close within the next 6 months when the government cuts ‘free childcare’ funding to the sector from January 2021. Pregnant Then Screwed and the Early Years Alliance are calling for urgent government intervention to keep childcare from facing an imminent collapse.

Throughout the pandemic, the government has continued to fund ‘free’ childcare places on the 15/30 hours scheme at pre-pandemic occupancy levels. However, the government has confirmed that this level of funding will not continue into 2021: responding to a recent Parliamentary Question from Tulip Siddiq MP, children and families minister Vicky Ford said that local authorities’ funding to childcare providers would return to “‘funding following the child’ from 1 January 2021.” 

A new survey of more than 2,000 childcare providers in England conducted by the Alliance found that this decision could leave a quarter of nurseries and childminders unable to survive beyond the end of May.

Previous Early Years Alliance research found childcare providers are currently experiencing a  21% fall in occupancy levels compared to this time last year.   

Joeli Brearley, CEO and Founder Pregnant Then Screwed explains,

‘’Occupancy rates for nurseries and childminders have depleted during the pandemic due to parents being furloughed, flexible working patterns, and concerns about infection rates. This is a temporary decrease in occupancy and we expect these rates to rise again once the vaccine has been administered. Obviously this decrease in occupancy has had a significant impact on the income nurseries can generate, yet simultaneously their overheads have only decreased marginally. The Government agreed to continue funding nurseries and childminders at the same level they had been doing before the pandemic hit and that helped hundreds of childcare facilities ride the financial storm, but now they want to reduce that funding. To do this now will be the death-knell to the childcare sector.’’

In just 48 hours the ‘Save our Nurseries’ campaign has seen over 1500 emails and 400 tweets to MPs calling on their support to stop Rishi Sunak and Gavin Williamson from cutting funding to the sector. 

As Joeli Brearley says: ‘Good quality, affordable childcare is the first line of defence against poverty and health inequalities for children. This cut to funding will have a disproportionately negative impact on nurseries in areas of deprivation thereby decreasing the attainment gap. Childcare is not a cost, it is an investment, with studies showing that for every £1 invested in childcare there is a £3 return.’

Childcare providers need the support now so that they can ride out the impact of the pandemic. Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure a sufficient supply of childcare places. If insufficient funding means that providers close, local authorities may not be able to meet this duty.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:

"We know that the next few months are likely to be make-or-break for the early years sector in England. We now have a situation where some parents are still opting not to take up their child's early years place due to safety concerns, while others currently do not need as much childcare because of changing working patterns, furlough or unemployment. As a result, many thousands of nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are experiencing a decline in income that is simply unsustainable. That’s why we are urging the government to commit to extending current early entitlement funding support until at least the end of the spring term. While this alone will not solve all the sector's problems, as our survey shows, failure to do so could be catastrophic for the early years. At a time when the early years is more important than ever, both for supporting parents to return work as the economy recovers, and ensuring that all children have access to quality early education, it is absolutely vital that the government provides the urgent financial support that the sector needs to survive this pandemic, and beyond."

Michala Brunt, Milestones Childcare Ltd, said: 

'People aren't registering for nurseries like they were before Covid hit, we've had barely any new children start over the last few months. We're okay at the moment because we have government funding for the places that are reserved for the children that haven't returned yet, but come January if that funding goes then we could be 20 children down. If we don't get a good intake of new children then we will be down by a substantial amount. It will impact staffing levels, and we'll have to look at the hours that we are open. Then we will be asking - are we able to pay all the bills?'

An earlier survey by the Alliance, released in October, revealed that 1 in 6 nurseries and childminders could close as soon as Christmas without additional support. Before the pandemic, 11% of childcare providers were running at a significant loss    [1] with the industry suffering an estimated £662m shortfall in funding    [2] from the Government. 

Survey was conducted by the EYA with 2,161 responses: 

56% (28%+ 28%) of providers say it would have a negative or very negative impact on them - and of those, nearly half (45%) don't think they would be able to remain viable for more than 6 months (5% + 16% + 24% = 45%)

How would you describe your provision? Please choose the closest option








Maintained nursery school


Primary school nursery class


Out-of-hour club


Specialist provision


Other (please specify)


The Department for Education is currently funding local authorities based on pre-Covid early years attendance levels. However, as of January 2021, the government's plan is to go back to basing early entitlement funding on actual attendance numbers. What kind of financial impact would this proposed change have on your provision?


Very positive financial impact


Somewhat positive financial impact


Neither negative nor positive financial impact


Somewhat negative financial impact


Very negative financial impact


If the government goes ahead with plans to base early entitlement funding on actual attendance as of January 2021, rather than basing it on pre-Covid attendance levels, how long do you anticipate being able to remain viable?


Less than a month


1 - 3 months


4 - 6 months


7 - 9 months


10 - 12 months


More than a year


Question asked in parliament and the corresponding response from Vicky Ford MP:

The Department for Education has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (97657):


To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to continue funding early entitlements for free childcare at the rate of occupancy before the covid-19 outbreak after January 2021. (97657)

Tabled on: 30 September 2020


Vicky Ford: 

On 20 July, we announced we will continue paying local authorities for the childcare places they usually fund for the autumn term. This will give nurseries and childminders another term of secure income, regardless of whether fewer children are attending.

At the same time, we set out our intention to return to the normal early years funding process from the start of 2021. This would mean using the January 2021 census to drive funding allocations for local authorities for the 2021 spring term, and that local authorities’ funding to childcare providers would return to ‘funding following the child’ from 1 January 2021.

We also made clear in that announcement that we would review the funding approach for the spring term given the uncertain times ahead with the COVID-19 outbreak. We are doing so and will announce our approach in due course.

The answer was submitted on 05 Oct 2020 at 17:27.

Summary of survey findings: 

54% (27%+ 27%) of providers say it would have a negative or very negative impact on them and of those, nearly half (46%) don't think they would be able to remain viable for more than 6 months. 

Meaning that 1 in 4 (24.8%) are likely to close in the next 6 months without funding. 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page