Childcare Bill

Local government plays an important role in providing support to children in their early years.


LGA Childcare Bill House of Lords, Consideration of amendments 2 February 2016

Key messages

Local government plays an important role in providing support to children in their early years and has a strong commitment to giving every child the best start in life.  

The investment of over £1 billion more a year by 2019-20 in free childcare places for two, three and four-year-olds, announced in the Spending Review, is necessary to enable the expansion of an already underfunded system. 


LGA briefing, Remaining Stages, House of Commons, Monday 26 January

Key messages

We are pleased the Government listened and has removed clauses which would have allowed the Secretary of State to prescribe the types of and times at which childcare is provided. The clauses would have placed duties on local authorities that they have little control over.

The LGA is calling for local authorities to have greater flexibility to expand council-maintained childcare provision in order to secure additional capacity in the most cost-effective way.


LGA briefing, Second Reading, House of Commons

Key messages

The LGA supports the Government's intention to make childcare more affordable. However, we are concerned that the Childcare Bill will increase the cost pressures on local government as it creates a duty on councils to deliver 30 hours free childcare. Whilst we support the principle of extending free childcare, we are concerned about the risks associated with placing additional costs on an already underfunded system.

We therefore support clause 1, introduced as a cross-party amendment in the House of Lords, as it requires an independent review of the funding available for childcare to be held before sections 2 to 6 can come into force. A review of funding will be crucial to ensuring that the Government and local authorities are able to meet the commitments being given in this legislation.


LGA briefing, Third Reading, House of Lords

Key messages

LGA analysis suggests that, if the way services are funded and delivered does not change, local government is set to face a funding gap of £9.5 billion and cost pressures of £6.6 billion by 2020.

We support the cross-party amendment made at Report Stage that requires an independent review of the funding available to take place before sections 2 to 6 can come into force. A review of funding will be crucial to ensuring that the Government and local authorities are able to meet the commitments being given in this legislation. 


LGA briefing, Report Stage, House of Lords

Key messages

LGA analysis suggests that, if the way services are funded and delivered does not change, local government is set to face a funding gap of £9.5 billion and cost pressures of £6.6 billion by 2020.

The LGA is concerned that the Government amendment 18 led by Lord Nash will create further cost pressures on local government as it creates a duty on councils to deliver 30 hours free childcare. Whilst we do not oppose the extension of free childcare, we are concerned about the risks associated with placing additional costs on an already underfunded system.



LGA briefing, Committee Stage, House of Lords

Key messages

Free childcare should meet the needs of working parents and provide high quality places and the funding must reflect this. A review of funding rates is welcome and we support the amendments which would clearly set out the parameters of the review and who would be involved.

The criteria by which parents' eligibility for the additional 15 hours a week free childcare is determined is unclear and the LGA supports amendments to clarify this. The LGA would be concerned if the costs of determining eligibility impacted on an already underfunded system.



LGA briefing, Second Reading, House of Lords

Key messages

The criteria by which parents' eligibility for the 30 hours a week free childcare is determined is unclear. The LGA would be concerned if the costs of determining eligibility impacted on an already underfunded system.

The Government should clarify the continuing role of local authorities in delivering free childcare. A move to a dual system, as the Bill appears to introduce, where both local authorities and the Department for Education are involved in the delivery of free places, would add further complexity and cost to a system already considered underfunded.

The Bill also includes regulation-making powers to allow the Secretary of State to establish a body corporate to fulfil her duties under the Bill. The Government should clarify why this provision is needed and how it intends to use it.