John has called for more support for childminders after hundreds completed his survey.
The survey organised by the MP found childminders were struggling due to a drop in demand and that many had been unable to get any government support.
The report found that:
- 99 per cent of childminders have seen a loss of income due to the pandemic
- One in three have been unable to access support from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, even though almost all are registered self-employed
- Half fear their business may close by the end of the year – which could mean a loss of more than 100,000 childcare places nationally
- Two thirds think government guidance on reopening safely has been somewhat or very unclear, even though they’re caring for children in their own homes
- On average, they earn £1.50 per hour less than the minimum wage for over 25s
- 14 per cent have had to take out a bank loan to make ends meet and 4 per cent have been to a food bank
The MP is calling for the government to:
- Provide targeted financial support for childminders
- Tackle underlying issues in the sector such as below minimum wage pay
- Put childminders to the front of the queue – alongside NHS and care home workers and school staff – for testing and vaccinations
Mr Healey has given a copy of his childminder survey report to the Secretary of State for Education and will discuss the findings with local council leaders to push them to play a greater role in giving supporting childminders.
He said: “Despite big challenges, childminders have shown incredible resilience throughout this crisis – playing a crucial role to ensure key workers are able to continue working.
“But childminders need support. We are in a new national lockdown and can expect tight public health restrictions through winter.
“The drop in demand is unlikely to recover fully for months and by then childminders could be gone and parents may struggle to get back to work.
“Yet again, the government is failing to help a significant number self-employed people.
“Covid-19 is exacerbating problems that already existed in early years – including a reliance on low wages and long hours. There is a crisis in the sector and the government is asleep at the wheel.”
Marie Harrop, from Swinton, South Yorkshire, has had to close her childminding business due to Covid-19.
She said: “When lockdown happened I lost all my work but I got no help from anywhere. I had to get by on my husband’s wage. I’ve since had to close my business and seek work elsewhere because I couldn’t manage on the income drop in my childcare provision.”
The online survey ran during August and September and was completed by more than 600 childminders.