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EA: Deregulation needed to bring down sky-high childcare costs

Annabel Denham, Director of Communications at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, commented on reports that the Prime Minister is considering relaxing health and safety rules on childcare 

“It has long been the case that government could drive down the cost of childcare by easing needless or damaging regulations. 

“The UK now has the strictest teacher:child ratios in Western Europe. In some Scandinavian countries – whose childcare sectors many politicians in Britain seem to admire – there is no national policy, with many settings able to make judgments according to their needs.

“What evidence we have suggests restrictions on class size have little bearing on health, safety, or a child’s future prospects. Childminder registration, extensive training, Ofsted inspections and more have driven many lower-cost providers out of the sector. The Early Years Foundation Stage, introduced under the misguided belief that we need a national curriculum for the under-5s, is unnecessary.

“Nursery costs as a proportion of income (with both parents earning 67 per cent of the national average wage) in the UK are now 30 per cent, the highest in the OECD. That government is considering deregulation to bring them down is welcome.”

Notes the editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715 942 731

IEA spokespeople are available for interview and further comment.

Further IEA reading: Getting the State out of Pre-School & Childcare, by Ryan Bourne and Professor Len Shackleton

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