A new report has set out the challenges in providing childcare to all the families who need it in York.
An annual survey of the city’s day nurseries, out of school clubs and childminders found that several said they were only financially stable for a matter of months.
And this was before the more recent cost of living rises.
Most providers said they could stay open for at least another year.
A report to tomorrow’s (Tuesday 8 November) decision session by the executive member for children states: “Historical underfunding of the early years and childcare sector and lack of financial support to address the impact of covid costs means the early years and childcare market, locally and nationally, remains very fragile as the longer-term impacts of Covid-19 on jobs and changes to working patterns remain a challenge for the sector.”
It says some parents – albeit in “relatively small numbers” – are reporting that they can’t find suitable childcare.
The report says: “The main area of unmet need appears to be for full day care or sessional care for the under 5s in several ward areas, before and after school provision in Acomb, Bishopthorpe and Dringhouses and Woodthorpe and holiday provision in Acomb and Haxby & Wigginton.
“Some of this is likely to be due to the current recruitment and retention issues causing some providers to limit the number of places on offer.
“Many families commented that the cost of childcare is an issue and whilst most indicated that they were aware of Tax-Free Childcare, nationally there is low take up so further promotion may support increased take up.”
The President of the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce is quoted in the report about the impact this could have on York: “Good access to childcare support services is very important for the future growth and prosperity of York’s business community, and therefore the wider economy.
“Many hard-working families are struggling to find the right work-life balance and that includes the need for reliable, good quality childcare.
“A shortfall in that care, then, will inevitably have an impact on the performance and output of many businesses, so there’s potentially a real problem on the horizon here in York.”