More than £500,000 released to help children’s nurseries in Milton Keynes survive until March

Struggling children’s nurseries in Milton Keynes are set to receive money to help them survive the lockdown.
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A leading MK councillor has confirmed a move to dip into a rainy day fund for early years providers to the tune of £508,000 to compensate them for children who have been kept away during the pandemic.

Cllr Zoe Nolan (Lab, Loughton & Shenley), speaking on Tuesday at a meeting confirming the decision, said: “It is really important that we have a really strong early years sector. We don’t want to lose these valuable places.”

The council had been using money provided by the Government for the earlier part of the year, based on children who weren’t attending. Nurseries are paid per head for the number of children.

But because the amounts then did not tip over the £500,000 mark, the payments had been confirmed by senior officers.

Now top ups have been added for the year up to March, the figure has tipped over £500,000. This means that under the council’s rules, an elected councillor has to make the decision in public.

Calling the move a “good news story” Cllr Nolan said that the top up would provide up to 90 per cent of what the nurseries had been receiving.

Dominic Williams, the council’s strategic lead for education sufficiency, access and attendance, said: “It’s really important that we continue to provide a level of protection to our early years settings during this time of uncertainty.”

Nurseries have been hit hard during the pandemicNurseries have been hit hard during the pandemic
Nurseries have been hit hard during the pandemic

The background papers to the delegated decisions meeting point out that if nurseries have claimed other support, such as furlough, they must contact the council to discuss their individual circumstances.

“Failure to notify us that they have received other funding streams would be a failure to adhere to our funding regulations,” says the report.