Is doubling free childcare hours deliverable?

20 January 2016

This meeting took place on 21 January 2016. Read the transcript for the first section here and the second section here.

From mid-2017, free childcare for three and four year olds of working parents will be extended from 15 hours to 30 hours.

In London, childcare costs around 30 per cent more than in the rest of the UK and the government already struggles to fund existing free childcare.

Parents in London require more childcare hours on average, due to longer commutes and jobs with longer, more antisocial hours.

It is unclear how nurseries, schools and childminders will afford the extra hours.

  • Is the current level of government funding enough to support the increase?
  • How will nurseries and childminders cope with bigger entitlements?
  • Will increased operating costs and a higher National Living Wage have an impact?

The London Assembly Economy Committee will tomorrow hear from childcare providers about the state of free childcare provision in London, the consequences of the planned extension and the role the Greater London Authority (GLA) has to play.

From 10:00am to approx. 11:15am, the Committee will question:

  • Jill Rutter, Head of Policy, Family and Childcare Trust
  • Claire Schofield, Director of Membership, Policy and Communications, National Day Nurseries Association
  • Shannon Hawthorne, Press and Public Affairs Director, Pre-School Learning Alliance
  • Penny Kenway, Head of Early Years and Childcare, Children's Services, LB Islington
  • Allison Jones, Service Manager, Early Years, Childcare and Children’s Centres, LB Merton

From approx. 11:15am, the Committee will question:

  • Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, GLA

The meeting will take place on Thursday 21 January from 10:00am in Committee Room 5 at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1). Media and members of the public are invited to attend

The meeting can also be viewed via webcast.

Notes to editors

  1. Full agenda papers.
  2. Fiona Twycross AM, Chair of the Economy Committee is available for interview. See contact details below.
  3. London Assembly Economy Committee.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.


For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.