Following the new Covid-19 rules and restrictions in the North East, many are concerned over the effects it will have on their childcare arrangements.
The new rules state that:
‘You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies, including those living outside of the region.’
This is a cause for concern for many parents as they cannot afford expensive childcare, and have been relying on informal childcare arrangements with their family and close friends.
Ian Lavery has written to the government asking them to urgently reconsider this policy, which will force people to make an ‘impossible choice’, between missing working, paying for childcare, or breaking the rules.
The full contents of the letter is as follows:
Dear Secretary of State,
I am contacting to you as a matter of urgency following the announcement that there are to be further interventions relating to covid-19 in Sunderland, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland and County Durham local authority areas, and to ask you to urgently reconsider your decision not to exempt informal childcare arrangements from the measures being introduced.
Since today’s announcement I have been inundated with correspondence from constituents seeking urgent clarification on the measures being introduced and desperate to know whether they can continue to utilise the help of family and friends so they can continue to work. Informal childcare arrangements are crucial to the operation of the North East’s economy with many parents unable to afford the cost of registered childcare and reliant on their own support networks.
Many of those who have been in touch are those who have worked throughout the course of this pandemic as key workers. It is imperative that we do all we can to ensure that those who are keeping the country running are not forced to choose between caring for their dependents or delivering an essential service.
Others who have been in touch rely on family members to support children with additional needs who are already distressed by the situation that we now find ourselves in. Removing this vital support network will fundamentally affect their ability to cope.
It is particularly galling for many people that registered childcare is an option but the support of grandparents is not, that nannies can travel into the region from outside but a friend is unable to take your child to school.
Secretary of State, I urge you to do the right thing for people who have given so much to defeat this virus and that you do not force hard working men and women to make impossible decisions by removing their ability to use informal support networks to provide childcare.
Member of Parliament for Wansbeck