The number of parents taking up the Welsh Labour Government’s free childcare offer has been lower than expected, according to new figures.
Working parents of three and four-year-olds can get 30 hours free childcare a week but a lack of uptake saw councils spend just £3.4m of the £10m allocated in 2017-18, and of this, £2.8m was spent on childcare with £550,000 on administration.
Since September 2017, it has been piloted in seven areas - Swansea, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Flintshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey and each time a child uses the scheme a payment of £4.50 per hour is triggered.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Education and Children, Darren Millar AM said:
“The Welsh Labour Government’s pilot of its childcare offer is inflexible, insufficiently promoted and beset by shortages in convenient childcare places.
“Action must be taken to ensure that parents are aware of the scheme and to acknowledge the huge part player by grandparents and other family members in helping take care of children.
“Unless these issues are addressed there would seem to be little prospect of the scheme being fully delivered by 2020.”