Nurseries in the North West warn they are at risk due to government 'underfunding'

VIDEO report by ITV News Correspondent Rob Smith

Nursery owners are warning they are at risk of closure and blame underfunding by the government.

A survey's revealed 85 percent of childcare businesses are making a loss or only just breaking even.

North West nurseries warn they are at financial breaking point with inadequate funding

National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) reveals 97.1% of respondents in the North West say Government funding for three and four-year-olds doesn't even cover their costs.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the average nursery has lost more than £26,000 over the past year due to absences or closures.

Only three years ago these figures were reversed, with 43% expecting to make a surplus and 19% making a loss.

One early years care provider from Ormskirk said their sector was undervalued.

Nurseries say the funding isn't sufficient forcing some nurseries to close

Nurseries in the North West told the NDNA their funding rate for three and four-year-olds was lower than the national average at just £4.30 per hour. Their two-year-old rate is also lower than the national average, £5.14.

The National Day Nurseries Association argues pandemic-triggered shutdowns and child absences have hit hard. A return to full business rates next Spring will do more damage. The Department for Education said in a statement:

"We recognise that the pandemic has created challenges for early years providers, which is why we provided significant financial and business support throughout to protect them.

We have invested more than £3.5 billion in childcare in each of the last three years, and we're making millions more available through our early years recovery work to level up children's outcomes."