The Childcare Bill, which was launched on August 25 this year, states that plans to increase free childcare from 15 to 30 hours a week will be brought forward to September 2016.
Some 55 per cent of survey respondents that are in favour of the changes believe it will provide valuable support for working parents and 28 per cent feel that workers will really benefit from their earnings, rather than just cover the cost of childcare.
Conversely, 16 per cent of those against the new scheme strongly believe it will create a shortage of childcare places, echoing the sentiment from Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, who recently warned that the system is already ‘grossly underfunded’.
David Thomson, CEO of Close Brothers Invoice Finance, which undertook the research says, ‘The debate is not clear cut, but assuming the reforms are rolled out as expected, I would urge company owners and managers to focus on the positive impact on their business.
‘One of the main arguments in favour of the changes is to ensure more parents get back into the workplace. This will not only benefit companies but also the individuals, as they are given the opportunity to develop their skills, keep up-to-date with their profession and enjoy a healthy work-life balance.’
The research further reveals that more than half of those that are against the proposed changes believe there are more important things for the government to spend money on and nearly 15 per cent state the investment will harm other crucial areas such as tax relief on pensions.
Thomson adds, ‘For the entrepreneurs in the childcare industry, now could be a good time to take advantage of new business opportunities and consider starting a new venture or building on success and opening additional nurseries to accommodate the demand.’