The problem with the government's free childcare scheme

Critics say the expansion plan is 'delusional' and could lead to nursery closures

A photo collage of Rishi Sunak gesturing towards a throng of office workers with their backs to the camera. To his left, there is a rack of preschoolers' items, backpacks, shoes. At the bottom of the image, there is a broken blue pencil crayon.
(Image credit: Illustration by Julia Wytrazek / Getty Images)

Rishi Sunak has been warned that he faces a pre-election "disaster" if his high-profile childcare expansion plan fails.

The prime minister has promised 15 hours a week of free childcare for working parents of two-year-olds from April, with the scheme extending to all children from the age of nine months from September. And from September 2025, working parents of children under five will be entitled to 30 hours' free childcare per week.

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