LYNNE NICHOLLS, of Lower Drive, Dawlish, writes: 

I write with regard to the under aged five child care proposals recently announced by the Chancellor.

Forgive me if I am stating the blooming obvious but whilst the new proposals make the cost of child care much more affordable (when fully implemented qualifying working parents will be eligible for 30 hours per week of free childcare per child aged nine months to four years) it does not necessarily follow that the required increase in the number of child care places will be available.

There is already a huge difference between demand for, and supply of, child care places. Actual and potential demand far outstrips supply.  Thus unless action is taken to increase child care availability this demand vs supply issue will become even more of a mismatch.

I have written before about the dearth of child care places in Dawlish and immediate area. 

The town has one nursery and only three/ four registered childminders. It also has a lot of young families and with new housing estates still to be built the number of young families is likely to increase. But will there be a corresponding increase in the numbers of pre-school child care places?

In only 12 months time the first tranche of the new childcare proposals will come into effect when qualifying working parents will be able to claim 15 hours per week free childcare for two-year-olds.

I understand the aim of these new proposals is to enable more people (mostly women) to get back to work (as if looking after young children isn’t work – but that’s another argument!).

If that aim is even only partially successful then the demand for child care will increase.  

However, if there aren’t the child care places available then those wishing to become economically active won’t be able to do so, will they?

Like so many other areas, the demand for under aged five child care places in Dawlish already exceeds supply so someone, somewhere, had better extract their digit and do their utmost to get more Dawlish based child minders recruited between now and next April.

Should anyone reading this wish to know more about how to become a childminder please contact Children’s Services at Devon County Council.