Department for Education
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Minister aims for new culture of social investment in childcare

Sam Gyimah announces plans to encourage social investment in childcare that will complement increased government funding.

Supply for the thriving childcare market will be improved by a new culture of social investment being encouraged by the Department for Education.

Demand for childcare is at an all-time high after the government’s popular offer of 15 hours of free childcare for all 3- and 4-year-olds, as well as 40% of 2-year-olds from low income families.

Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah believes the market can expand even further thanks to the government encouraging a culture of social investment.

Businesses looking to expand their presence in the early years market will be boosted by a new £500,000 Department for Education grant to help usher in the new culture through the Childcare Investment Readiness Fund.

A wide range of organisations yesterday (26 February 2015) met with Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah for a roundtable discussion on how social investment can further help the early years market.

Childcare minister Sam Gyimah said:

There is unprecedented demand for childcare - social investment would add to the record amount of money we are giving to the sector to help the market meet the modern families’ needs.

Helping to improve a whole generation of children’s lives is something that I feel will be very appealing to many people.

The Childcare Investment Readiness Fund will help providers to work with people who can help them to continue to grow. Any resulting social investment would be in addition to government funding.

As well as our offer of more free hours to parents than ever before, childcare will soon be even more accessible for parents thanks to our policies of tax-free childcare and universal credit.

Yesterday’s roundtable discussed how social investment fund can help organisations expand their existing childcare presence to help families access as much good quality, affordable childcare as possible.

The Childcare Investment Readiness Fund, which will be launched next month, is modelled on the Cabinet Office’s Investment and Contract Readiness Fund. It will support childcare providers with a proven track record to become more appealing to investors.

Successful bids for the Investment Readiness Fund will receive up to £45,000 per partnership.

Applications for the Investment Readiness Fund will be assessed by an ‘investment panel’ made up of experts who will decide which bids would make future social investment most attractive to social investors.

Notes to editors

  1. Under this Parliament government funding for the childcare market has increased by £1 billion to almost £3 billion per year.
  2. Social investment provides capital that enables social organisations to deliver both social and financial returns. There are currently 180,000 social enterprises in the UK. They represent 15% of all small- to medium-sized enterprises and contribute over £55 billion to the economy.
  3. The Laing Buisson nursery market report estimates that the UK children’s day care market has risen by 4.1% year on year - and is currently worth £4.9 billion.
  4. Demand for childcare has increased thanks to the government offering 15 hours of free childcare to all 3- and 4-year-olds, as well as 40% of 2-year-olds.
  5. The upcoming offers of tax-free childcare and universal credit are likely to encourage more parents of young children to take up more hours of childcare.

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