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‘Outrage’ as Council Closes Last 14 Community Daycare Nurseries in Birmingham

 

The 600 families that use the service are low paid and often single parents that have no alternative but to use the free subsidised provision.

A council decision to close the last 14 nurseries across the city has sparked ‘outrage’, says GMB.

Birmingham City Council this week nodded through the plan to shut down the final remaining city's community day care nurseries.

The decision will leave 100s of some of the poorest families in the city with no day care provision.

GMB, who represent the nursery workers, have criticized the council for giving no notice over its plans to shut the remaining children's daycare nursery buildings.

In fact the decision to shut them has been made less than two years since the council had agreed to put forward plans to make them self-sustainable. [1]

These desperately-needed nurseries provide free child care entitlement places for two to four-year-olds – giving parents the opportunity to go out and work.

Up to this point, Councillor Brigid Jones, the newly elected Deputy Leader for Birmingham, has been extremely proactive in promoting the service.

Cllr Jones has not made a statement regarding these plans, so her position on this is unclear.

The nurseries also provide care for children on social care plans who are deemed as being at risk within society.

The nurseries currently provide for 600 children and employ 120 people.

Gill Ogilvie GMB Regional Officer said:

"GMB members are absolutely devastated by this outrageous decision.

“Discussions earlier this year led us to believe there were plans in place to make the nurseries sustainable, leading to fewer closures and a less devastating impact on the centres and the children.

“However, it appears that the council has basically lied to us yet again and now appear hell bent on closing these vital nurseries.

"We believe that these proposals will cost in excess of £2.5 million in redundancy payments and potential clawback on buildings - not mentioning the cost to children's and families’ lives.

“The families that use the service are low paid and often single parents that have no alternative but to use the free subsidised provision.

“This will have an added impact on these families as they may have to give up work, all at a time when the government is forcing people to work rather than stay at home looking after their children.

“This also comes at a time when there is an increased demand in the service with the extension of the 30 hours provision to all working parents earning less than £100,000 and there is a general shortage of nursery provision across the country.

“This increase is already devastating the child care markets with parents struggling to find access to quality child care places.

“The announcement makes no sense - the funding is provided by Government and the employees are already very low paid, yet the council seem happy to sacrifice the mainly female workforce and children over collection of waste from our streets.

“GMB is calling on the council to stop this nonsense before any further plans are made and sit down with the unions and discuss a way forward."

ENDS

Contact: Gil Ogilvie on 07850768351 or GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes for editors

[1] Background

In December 2015 the council had made proposals to close all the nurseries across the city but the GMB lodged a dispute with them which was successful in looking at suitable alternative arrangements. The city originally had 26 nurseries in 2010 it then closed 12 which left the remaining 14 centres that they planned to close again in 2015. Due to the GMB dispute this was prevented and discussions surrounding sustainability were the outcome of the 2015 dispute.

Section 6 of the childcare Act 2006, places a duty on English local authorities to secure sufficient childcare for working parents.

There are a further 26 standalone nursery schools which could be affected further as a consequence of these initial proposals just at a time when they have been promised secured funding for the next 2 years when the new fixed rate for EEE funded places comes into effect. 

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