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Sunday, December 03, 2023

Delivering on promises

This news in today's Independent illustrates a stark political fact: you can make all the promises you like but if the infrastructure is not there to deliver on them then you will be found out.

In this case the pledge to expand free childcare for British families has been earmarked as being doomed for failure because thousands of nurseries have shut their doors amid a staffing crisis. 

The paper says that new figures from school inspectors Ofsted show that 3,320 of the 62,300 nurseries and childminders for under-fives in England have shut their doors in the past year alone, leaving 17,800 fewer childcare places available.

The Independent adds that: 

  * The number of nurseries and early years services for under fives has plummeted from 84,970 in 2015/2016 to 63,207 in 2022/2023

* Almost 100,000 extra workers are needed to fulfil Mr Hunt’s pledge, according to research by The University of Leeds and the Early Education and Childcare Coalition

* 180,000 additional places will be needed by the end of 2025 for the rollout to work.

A similar scenario is being played out in Wales where ministers are anxious to get more people onto buses, but all the incentives of reducing costs for passengers and providing free travel at weekends are not going to cut it if there are no buses for people to catch.

Perhaps, when manifestos are published at the next General Election, we should have a reality check on all the promises in them.

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