Smoke And Mirrors ? A Government Speciality ! Promise One Thing Deliver Another

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Grenfell Tower ... 6 months on : ... 02711.html

Government 'failing' Grenfell Tower victims six months after fire.

'We need answers from the Government and we need action'.

Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Prime Minister of “failing” Grenfell Tower survivors, most of whom remain homeless six months on from the blaze.

Labour rounded on the Government for the slow progress in rehousing displaced families despite early pledges to have everyone out of hotels within three weeks.

In a letter to Theresa May, shadow housing minister John Healey sets out five areas where he claims Grenfell survivors and tower residents more widely continue to be let down.

He backed calls made in a petition for the Grenfell Tower public inquiry to be overseen by a diverse panel of experts, rather than just one judge.

Safety concerns in other high-rise blocks were still not being properly addressed, he said, after a nationwide audit found hundreds wrapped in flammable cladding.

Mrs May, widely criticised for her response in the aftermath of the fire, was also urged to hasten an overhaul of building regulations and properly fund work to make tall buildings safer.

Mr Corbyn said in a statement: “Six months on from the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, the Government is failing to learn its lessons and, more importantly, failing the survivors.

“It is a disgrace that the majority of Grenfell residents have still not been given homes and that tower blocks across our country have still not been made safe.

“We need answers from the Government and we need action.”

The party's intervention comes as survivors and bereaved relatives prepare to mark six months since the tragedy, which left 71 dead, on Thursday.

Currently only 42 households from the tower have moved into permanent new homes and 118 remain in emergency accommodation, including 103 in hotels.

Mr Healey pointed to the Prime Minister's words on June 17 when she said she had fixed a deadline of three weeks “for everybody affected to be found a home nearby”.

He asked why more families had not been rehoused and how many would be in emergency rooms over Christmas.

His letter continued: “Why has the Government failed to provide any funding to build new homes, or to acquire existing empty homes to help survivors?”

Survivor's confidence and willingness to participate in the public inquiry led by Sir Martin Moore-Bick was “absolutely vital” to its success, the Labour MP said.

This meant that a petition launched by around 50 victims' families and the main survivors' group calling for experts from a diverse range of backgrounds to sit alongside him should be considered.

The shadow minister also weighed in on a continuing tussle between councils and central Government about funding for the safety installations recommended by fire chiefs.

It is “essential” that cash was set aside to finance the improvements, including £1 billion for the retro-fitting of sprinklers in older tower blocks, the Labour MP said.

Grenfell Tower ... not the last article to feature this debacle ... regreatably.

The buck will stop ... depending on just how many will be " Sacrificed. "

More news will follow as the present pantomine unfolds.
More on the illusion of " Free " 30 hour child care ... a Government incentive ... with a rather large sting in the tail :

Parents shelling out for 'free' nursery scheme.

Parents are subsidising a new flagship "free" nursery scheme for three- and four-year-olds in England from their own pockets, a survey suggests.

Nurseries are making up losses by upping fees for younger children and charging for meals and nappies, a survey of 1,662 providers suggests.

The survey, by the Pre-School Learning Alliance, suggests only a third are delivering the hours totally free.

The government says it is investing £6bn in childcare by 2020.

It added that any charges to parents on the scheme must be voluntary.

The poll of nurseries, pre-schools and childminders is the first to be carried out since the 30-hour free childcare scheme came into effect in September, and has been shared exclusively with the BBC.

Families where both parents are working more than 16 hours a week, but earning under £100,000 each, qualify for the scheme. It expands the number of free hours childcare for this age group from 15 a week.

'Making losses'

But nurseries and pre-schools have long warned they will struggle to make ends meet because the hourly rates they are receiving from the government are too low.

Nurseries and pre-schools have already been cross-subsidising the previous entitlement of 15 hours a week with fees from non-government funded children.

According to the survey, conducted online among alliance members, over a third said they were making up losses by upping fees for younger children.

And charges for items such as meals and nappies are also being made at a third of the settings that responded.


Most said the hourly rates they were receiving from the government were below what they charged parents not on the scheme and failed to cover their costs.

And a fifth thought they may not be financially sustainable by next year.

And numerous local authorities are no longer promoting the scheme as "free", instead referring to the hours as "funded" in their advertising instead.

One nursery told the alliance: "Funding rate not increased for the seventh year, coupled with cost of increased pension contributions and increase in living wage and minimum wage, we are seriously concerned about our future survival."

More than three-quarters (some 77%) said if the funding stayed the same next year, it would have a negative impact on the business - 44% described that negative impact as "significant".

Another provider said: "It does not currently seem financially sustainable. If the funding rate does not increase, the only way we can still offer the places is by charging for extras, [in other words] charging for the gap in underfunding."

'Funding crisis'

Chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance Neil Leitch said: "It's clear from these findings that the government's flagship childcare policy is failing both providers and parents.

"Respondents have laid out in black and white that the 30 hours policy is simply not working, with a continued lack of adequate funding leaving many with no option but to pass the funding shortfall on to parents.


"This has left parents to pay the price for government underfunding through often unexpected charges for things like nappies, food and trips, while the government continues to claim that it's delivering on its promise of 'free' childcare."

He said that since the policy had been announced, the childcare sector had repeatedly said the scheme would not be sustainable in the long term.

"Thousands of parents and providers have now joined our Fair Future Funding campaign to demonstrate their concerns.

"The government should not have needed more evidence of a childcare funding crisis - but here it is."

He added that if ministers did not want to leave parents picking up the tab, or more nursery closures, they needed to increase funding urgently.

The National Day Nurseries Association chief executive Purnima Tanuku said: "These are extremely worrying findings and sadly echo our own research over the last year.

"The government needs to be honest with providers and parents that 30 hours funded childcare is not 'free'.

"There is a significant shortfall between government funding rates and the cost to nurseries of providing childcare."

For example, in Suffolk the funding rate is £3.87 per child, per hour, compared to the £5.20 per child, per hour it costs to deliver a place.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We are investing a record amount of around £6 billion every year by 2020 in childcare and have doubled the free childcare available to working parents to 30 hours a week, saving them up to £5,000 a year per child.

"Providers can choose whether to offer 30 hours and what pattern of days and hours they offer parents. We have always been clear that government funding is not intended to cover the costs of meals or additional services.

"However, while providers can charge parents for additional extras, this cannot be a condition of the child's place."


The costs and benefits of the Child Care scheme yet again : ... 30431.html

Cost of childcare surges to £122 a week leaving parents 'treading water', report finds.

Families with two working parents in London having to shed out more than £7,600 a year for child under two to go to nursery, which campaigners warn is 'locking' more people out of work.

The cost of childcare in Britain has surged to double the rate of inflation leaving many families “just treading water” as parents struggle to afford the rising costs in order to go to work, a new study shows.

The average cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two has soared by seven per cent in the past year to £122 a week, or more than £6,300 a year, according to the report by the Family and Childcare Trust.

Following the roll-out of new government support schemes in 2017, most parents are now entitled to some help with childcare costs – but the Trust says a “confusing hotchpotch” of seven different types of support means families are at risk of missing out on the help they need.

Many working parents using the new tax-free childcare scheme – which offers £2 for every £8 parents pay for childcare up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year – and the 30 hours of free childcare offered for three- and four-year-olds, which was rolled out in 2017, will be spending less on childcare this year. But their savings are likely to dry up if prices continue to rise at the same rate.

The highest prices for childcare are for youngest children between the end of paid parental leave and when the child turns three. This is the period when the least financial support is available to parents.

A household in inner London where both parents work, meaning they are not eligible for any out-of-work benefits but receive tax free childcare, has to shed out more than £7,600 a year for their child under two to go to nursery. The cost of a childminder for this family would amount to £7,238 for the year.

Parents with children under three on lower incomes will not be receiving additional support this year through tax-free childcare and so are likely to see their childcare costs rise, the report warns.

Lower income families also risk being worse off working more hours. They can get help with childcare costs through the benefits system, but the average cost of a full-time nursery place significantly outstrips the maximum support available by £60 each week.

Prices also vary significantly across the country. In inner London – the most expensive region in the UK – the price of a part-time nursery place for a child under two is £184 per week before tax-free childcare – 80 per cent higher than in the North West.

Even families that are eligible for the 30 hours offer for three- and four-year-olds may not receive the support they were expecting, as just half of local authorities in England report having enough childcare places for working parents to access their free 30 hours place.

Ellen Broomé, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, said: “Childcare is as vital as the rails and roads, it supports parents to work, boosts children’s outcomes and provides our economy with a reliable workforce. Too many parents remain locked out of work by high childcare costs and low availability.

“New government investment is welcome, but this year’s childcare price surge shows that without root and branch reform, many families will be left just treading water.

“The Government need to streamline the current hotchpotch of childcare support schemes. We need a simple and responsive childcare system that makes sure every parent is better off working and childcare quality is high enough to boost children’s outcomes throughout life.”

The report comes after analysis published last year by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) revealed that in England the cost of childcare for young children had risen more than four times faster than wages since 2008.

It found the average wages of parents with a one-year-old child rose by 12 per cent in cash terms in the eight-year period, while their childcare costs shot up by 48 per cent in the same period.

In some parts of the UK the cost of childcare had risen by even more, increasing 7.4 times more quickly than pay in London, seven times more quickly in the East Midlands and 4.8 times more in West Midlands.

Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary, accused the Government of refusing to give local councils the investment needed to give families the support they need.

“The Government’s failure to provide free and high-quality childcare to those who need it most will keep many mothers locked out of the labour market, as rising childcare costs mean it doesn’t pay to work,” she added.

Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Children and Young People Board, said: “Councils remain concerned that the funding levels available for the free entitlements are not sufficient, which could potentially lead to fewer providers offering places, reduced quality, or increased costs for children using hours outside of the entitlements.

“We support the Family and Childcare Trust’s suggestion that spend on childcare could be reformed to create a simpler, more efficient system. As it stands, different schemes have different aims, and it can be difficult for parents to know the best option for their family.”

He added that reviewing early years support in its entirety would help to identify whether investment was helping to “reduce inequalities, improve social mobility and get better results for children and their families”.

Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi, said: “Thousands of families are accessing high-quality, affordable childcare and the most pleasing finding in the Family Childcare Trust’s report is that parents are now spending less of their wages on that childcare as a result of the steps this government has taken.

“There are always challenges when implementing any new policy but we are investing record amounts in childcare – around £6bn a year by 2020 – and are working with the sector, which has responded well to the 30-hour rollout, to address them.

“Our 15 hours offer for the most disadvantaged two-year-olds is giving these children access to early education and we know that take up of this offer is increasing.”

An article that leaves very few questions ?

To end , a question I have raised periodically for the past 15 years or so ?

Child care ... fine ... what about Parent care ???

And why no challenge to clear discrimination in favour of the young over the old ???

Couples choose to have children ... children have no choice other than to be " Saddled " with parents ???