Fears of child care shortage as council cuts funding for some child minders

County Hall.

County Hall. - Credit: Archant

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition opposing a cut to the funding Norfolk County Council gives some child minders

Campaigners warned the move could lead to child care shortages, because fewer child minders might offer the free places.

Although the places are funded by the government, the county council decides how it is distributed.

It previously paid a flat rate of £5.06 an hour for these free places, but many child minders will now receive a flat rate of £3.30 an hour from April. There will be additional supplements targeted at areas of deprivation.

The proposals were approved by councillors and the government.

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A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said: 'We are not reducing the total amount of early years funding but we are changing the allocation of the funding to better align it to the county council's early help strategy and ultimately meet the needs of more families in Norfolk.

'The introduction of a new funding formula will create a much fairer and simpler system, and will also create more flexibility for parents.

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'The new formula is affordable, many more providers will benefit in an hourly rate increase, in particular those that have children which live in disadvantaged areas, and those that provide good quality, flexible provision.'

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