Energy Crisis Biting Childcare Providers

A mother entering the kindergarten yard with her preschooler boy.

Energy Crisis Biting Childcare Providers

Fuel costs have risen dramatically over the past few months, driven by a number of global factors including the war in Ukraine. For domestic households, the cap on the price energy companies can charge has already risen twice, but for commercial businesses, there is no such cap. For childcare providers this represents a serious concern, with many already struggling with the rising cost of living and stretching the levels of funding they receive.

During a long, hot summer there has been little call for central heating in childcare settings, but that will change as the weather cools. According to reports in the press, some nurseries are already warning parents to pack extra layers for children so they can keep heating bills to a minimum. Of course, this is a far from ideal scenario, and it is not just children and staff who need to keep warm. Buildings need to be heated to prevent damage from frozen pipes and other causes.

It is clear that without help, many businesses in the sector will struggle this winter, and trade associations across the industry are calling on the government to do more. At present, both the candidates for the Conservative Leadership – and therefore our next Prime Minister – have indicated they will seek ways to help, whether through handouts or tax cuts, but opposition voices claim neither plan will do enough.

The Covid-19 crisis proved like nothing else how vital the childcare sector is both to children’s welfare and the wider economy. In the coming months it will be critical for the government to find ways to ensure settings are able to stay open and warm.