Childcare desert: Southwark sees 332 childcare places lost since 2019

15 May 2024

Childcare places in Southwark have fallen by 332 since 2019, the third largest reduction out of all 32 London Boroughs behind only Ealing and Camden.

The figures, revealed in House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, show the majority of childcare places were lost last year with a reduction of 214.

It comes as applications opened on Monday (13th May) for parents to register for 15 hours of free childcare from September for children from 9 months old. The Liberal Democrats said the fall in providers was putting the deliverability of the government’s plans into doubt and leaving parents in “without options.” The party is calling on the Government to review the rates paid to providers for free hours to ensure they cover the actual costs of delivering high-quality childcare. 

Nationally, the number of childcare providers, including nurseries and childminders, has dropped by a fifth since 2019, from 61,162 to 48,143. Every area in the country but one has seen a fall in the number of childcare providers since 2019, leaving parents with less choice as to where they can get childcare.

Last month the National Audit Office criticised the Government’s roll out saying that dates for the scheme were decided without the DfE or the Treasury understanding whether the sector would be able to provide the number of places needed. It recommended the DfE continuously review the expansion in case it needs to relook at the timeline due to concerns about place numbers and staffing.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Southwark, Cllr Rachel Bentley said:

“Childcare in Southwark has been driven to the brink by years of neglect from this Conservative Government. Local parents have been left completely without options.

“Free hours are no good if parents can’t find a nursery or childminder for their child – and thanks to this Conservative government's underfunding, many parents in Southwark now face a near impossible task of finding childcare.  

“The government urgently needs to review the rates it pays providers to ensure they cover the actual costs of delivering high-quality childcare and early years education.” 

This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.