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Early Years 30 hour " free" policy a mirage

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In Richmond, as across the Country, parents are discovering the reality of the Tories' policy of providing 30 hours of free Early Years and Childcare for all three and four year olds.
At Full Council last night, Labour Councillor Jennifer Churchill raised the issue. She says: "I asked the Cabinet Member for Education to declare publicly the advice being given to Early Years and childcare providers to create new charges for parents, given that the 30 "free" hours policy has come in without the funding to support it. She would only say that the Council were acting "within the law". The policy is a sham. 74% of respondents to a Pre-school Alliance survey said funding did not match the cost of the new policy. Providers are having to increase charges for products such as meals and nappies just to survive, and our officers are running sessions teaching them how best to do this. Either the proper funding should be put in place, or the Tories should admit that they have no intention of living up to their election promises, and the policy should be publicly dropped. The current situation is an untenable disgrace."

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