The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services and the National Youth Agency – two leading organisations for young people – are united in their opposition to fund childcare places for two-year-olds through the Early Intervention Grant.
Following an announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister at the Liberal Democrat Conference this week that he would pledge £100m to fund childcare places for two year olds, two leading youth organisations have issued the following statements expressing their concern about where this money is believed to be coming from.
Comment from Susanne Rauprich, National Council for Voluntary Youth Services Chief Executive:
“We welcome increased investment in early years, but NCVYS is very worried that this may be at the expense of much needed services for young people and vulnerable families. News that this money is to come from the Early Intervention Grant currently used by local authorities to meet young people’s needs will have a serious impact on young people already suffering difficulties in accessing jobs, housing and other core services. Furthermore, if this money is to be ring-fenced, it directly undermines the current Government’s approach to allow local areas to decide where best to spend their money and shows that the principle of localism is not being applied consistently across government policy.’
Comment from Fiona Blacke, National Youth Agency Chief Executive, on the removal of top slice funding for local authorities.
“The National Youth Agency is deeply concerned if funds are to be removed from local authority funds over the next two years. This heralds a sad day for local authority young people’s services, which are already operating on reduced budgets. Many are having to reconfigure their work to ensure services continue. These cuts risk under-resourcing local authorities in delivering targeted early support to young people.”
News that the money for free education for two year olds is to come from the Early Intervention Grant was published in the Guardian. It noted that a Technical consultation from the Department for Communities and Local Government on Business Rates Retention revealed proposals (on p140) that the Early Intervention Grant would exclude £534 million and £760 million, in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively, for free education for two year olds . The consultation also noted that £150 million would also “be excluded in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and retained centrally for future use in funding early intervention and children’s services.”