Childcare desert: Liverpool sees 539 childcare places lost since 2019

13 May 2024
Cllr Mike Storey

There has been a 539 fall in the number of childcare places in Liverpool since 2019, House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

It comes as applications open today (13th May) for parents to register for 15 hours of free childcare from September for children from 9 months old. The Liberal Democrats said the fall in providers was putting the deliverability of the government’s plans into doubt and leaving parents in “without options.” The party is calling on the Government to review the rates paid to providers for free hours to ensure they cover the actual costs of delivering high-quality childcare. 

In Liverpool, 539 childcare places have been lost since 2019, falling from 9,965 to 9,425. It equates to a 5.4% fall in the number of places. The number of childcare providers in Liverpool has also seen a decline, with their now being 54 fewer than in 2019, a 16% fall.

Nationally, the number of childcare providers, including nurseries and childminders, has dropped by a fifth since 2019, from 61,162 to 48,143. Every area in the country but one has seen a fall in the number of childcare providers since 2019, leaving parents with less choice as to where they can get childcare.

Last month the National Audit Office criticised the Government’s roll out saying that dates for the scheme were decided without the DfE or the Treasury understanding whether the sector would be able to provide the number of places needed. It recommended the DfE continuously review the expansion in case it needs to relook at the timeline due to concerns about place numbers and staffing.

Liverpool Liberal Democrat chair of the Education, Skills & Employment Scrutiny CommitteeCllr Lord Mike Storey said:

“Childcare in Liverpool has been driven to the brink by years of neglect from this Conservative Government. Local parents have been left completely without options.

“Free hours are no good if parents can’t find a nursery or childminder for their child – and thanks to this Conservative government's underfunding, many parents in Liverpool now face a near impossible task of finding childcare.  

“The government urgently needs to review the rates it pays providers to ensure they cover the actual costs of delivering high-quality childcare and early years education.” 


Notes to Editors:

House of Commons Library research can be found here

NAO Report can be found here.

Please note that provider figures change estimates reflect net change in the number of registered providers - this might not equate to closures as such. For example, a nursery in a given area may have closed but another provider opened a nursery in the same year, childminders may have left the register, but others join to offset changes etc. 

Childcare on non-domestic premises: nurseries and other day care groups

Childcare on domestic premises: Working with three or more other adults on premises that are also used entirely or mainly as a private home.

Childminders; caring for children in an individual’s home (or someone else’s home) for payment or reward. Working alone or with up to 2 other childminders.

Changes in the number of providers may not equate to changes in early years childcare places.

The local authority figures may not always sum to the regional and national totals, as elements of estimation may be included in the aggregated totals to account for missing data at local level.


This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.