Council to close nurseries and raise prices by April

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Lewisham Council is cutting funding to their nurseries resulting in closures and increasing prices for the remaining centres.

By April this year the ‘Amersham Early Years Centre’, in New Cross, will be forced to close. Officials said: “This is to ensure that reduced resources are focused on those children and families in greatest need.”

However as the price of child care increases throughout the borough, parents are fearful of not being able to afford to send their children to nursery. Prices are expected to rise from £175 a week to £250 a week for children under two or £200 a week for children over three.

Council’s have been forced to make ‘difficult decisions’ in funding due to spending reduction targets of £33million of savings by March next year. The Labour-run council, have been forced to reshape the services provided by the ‘Early Years Centres’ throughout the borough due to drastic cuts in funding. The council is trying to save £88million over the next three years inline with the Government’s budget cuts.

Lewisham council’s officials told ELL: “At the meeting of Mayor and cabinet on Thursday, the Mayor agreed proposals for Lewisham to cease being a provider of childcare and that the Amersham Early Years Centres should close. He has also instructed officers to begin formal consultations with staff at the remaining three Early Years Centres to reduce costs through reorganisation.”

They also added: “The scale of central Government budget reductions – which include over 20 per cent cuts to grants which make up almost half of the Children and Young People budget – means that very difficult decisions have to be made. The 2006 Childcare Act makes clear that the Local Authority should be a strategic lead in developing the childcare market, not be a direct provider of childcare.”

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