Back to Listings

Spending on Sure Start drops 67% since 2009-10

By Rachel Lawler

child crayons
Government spending on Sure Start centres has dropped 67% since 2009-10, according to a new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
 
The IFS has released its first annual report on education spending in England, which it says accounts for the second largest expense after healthcare in the country.
 
Sure Start spending
The report highlights the decrease in spending on Sure Start centres, which has dropped by two-thirds since 2009-10, despite the increased spend associated with the 30 hours offer.
 
The IFS says that the 30 hours offer has seen spending on early years education increase by £500 million in the past year.
 
However, alongside the reduced spend on Sure Start, government spending on childcare subsidies, such as working tax credits and childcare vouchers, has fallen by 13% between 2009-10 and 2017-18.
 
30 hours 'free' childcare
Funding for ‘free’ hours now makes up 60% of all government spending on early education, compared to 2009-10 when this represented just 29% of government spend on the sector.
 
Early years challenges
The report also identified “two main challenges” for early years education in the next few years. Firstly, it says that the success of the 30-hours offer depends on the willingness of providers to sign up to the offer, with regional differences in take up already emerging.
 
Secondly, the IFS says that the current Early Years National Funding Formula does not incentivise high-quality provision and may unintentionally create a focus on “minimising costs” at the expense of quality education and care.
 
Find out more