Thank you for contacting me about early years funding.
I strongly believe that early years are crucial to giving every child the best start in life. I therefore welcome the doubling of free childcare for working parents of 3- and 4- year olds and the introduction of tax-free childcare. More than 850,000 disadvantaged 2-year-olds have also benefited from 15 hours of free childcare since it was introduced.
In order to realise this ambitious expansion, a fairer funding system for early years providers was introduced in 2017. The previous system had been based on historic expenditure, leading to significant variations in funding for local authorities. The new Early Years National Funding Formula is ensuring funding is allocated fairly, transparently and on a sustainable basis.
I am also encouraged that in April, all local authorities saw an increase to the hourly funding rates for two-year-olds and an increase in the vast majority of areas for three and four-year-olds. The overall spend on early education entitlements continues to increase, with £3.6 billion planned to be invested in 2020-21.
These changes have created a fairer system that better provides the affordable and high-quality childcare needed to give children all over the country the best opportunity to reach their full potential.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.