Norway is one of the best providers of universal, affordable childcare. It combines 'a legal guarantee to a place for all children with fees that are both low overall and income related'. In Norway childcare provision is made up with a mix of public, private and voluntary organisations. The state covers 85% of childcare costs and limits fees to ensure affordability. It maintains a high quality of service through regulations on staff qualifications, limits to profit extraction and ensures that parents sit on kindergarten boards. Among developed countries, Norway consistently ranks in the top 5 for child wellbeing.
Lucie Stephens, Miranda Hall, Sarah Bedford, Alfie Stirling, Lukasz Krebel (2020), New Economics Foundation
NEF proposes the creation of a Childcare Infrastructure Fund (CIF) to sustain the childcare sector and its workforce. This would be a direct payment for all Ofsted-registered providers to cover all staff salaries and other essential overheads in order to maintain continuity of care and protect this essential infrastructure. In return, providers will be obliged to provide free childcare to all parents who are key workers, or who are required to return to their workplace as social distancing measures are unwound, and to protect against redundancies in the childcare workforce.
Jerome De Henau (2017), Women's Budget Group
This briefing considers the case for providing universal and free childcare services in the UK to promote better child outcomes, foster gender equality and stimulate high-quality employment. It simulates different childcare staff pay and coverage scenarios and analyses their employment and fiscal effects.