Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement earlier today, Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England & Wales, said:

“YMCA broadly welcomes elements of the Chancellor’s announcements today – in particular, responding to calls to support parents struggling with high childcare costs and early years providers that are struggling to keep their doors open.

“We welcome the news of additional funding for the early years sector. Last month, YMCA highlighted that inflation had seen a 10.1% increase in costs, while the funding rate had only seen a 4.4% increase for two-year-olds and a 3.2% increase for three and four-year-olds. A 30% increase in funding for two-year-old funded places will go far in addressing the shortfall highlighted by YMCA. However, we will await to see what this means for the three, and four-year-old funding rate, which we understand will not increase at the same level, leaving providers at risk.

“Time is also of the essence, as in recent weeks, many early years settings have been forced to cease operations, with closures taking place in some of the most deprived communities across the country. Families and providers alike cannot keep waiting, and so dates for expected funding increases would be welcomed to help childcare settings plan for the future.

“YMCA also welcomes the intent behind wraparound care funding. As a large provider in this area, we stand ready to support young people and play our part in ensuring families are able to become more economically active.

“Looking beyond early years, the Chancellor announced that sanctions will be applied more rigorously to those claiming Universal Credit (UC). This is disappointing, and we hope that the Department for Work and Pensions is looking to incentives into work rather than – or at least as well as – sanctions, which we know create barriers for young people looking for secure employment.

“YMCA is heartened to hear of planned £100m fund for local charities and community organisations, alongside a £63m fund for pools and leisure centres. Many charities continue to face significant challenges as a result of rising prices and increasing energy costs, just at a time when demands for our services are increasing rapidly. This fund will hopefully go some way to helping charities to continue to support those in their communities who really need it most.”

YMCA works with more than 166,000 children, young people, parents and carers to provide the best possible start in life, offering support into their teenage years and beyond.