Financial Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The pandemic and resulting closures will also have had an impact on many childcare providers in the sector. Many childminders, like other providers, have experienced loses in income normally received through fees paid for childcare.
Childminders may have been able to access support through a number of different routes. For example, childminders whose income was negatively impacted by COVID-19, and who met the eligibility criteria, may have been able to access support through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, which has recently been extended to April 2021. In addition to which the Scottish Government made available a Newly Self Employed Support Scheme for those self-employed who had not been in operation long enough to be eligible for the UK Government scheme.
Those childminders delivering funded ELC will have benefited from the continuation of these payments for the duration of the closure period. And a number of childminders remained open to provide critical childcare which was funded by local authorities. The Scottish Government has provided information to childminders on the range of support available to them on www.gov.scot.
Childminders caring for 12 or more children who have been affected by the restrictions on their operations brought into effect from 26 December 2020 will be able to access the temporary financial support which is being provided, to enable these larger settings to continue to open for families. Further information on this support will be made available on the Scottish Government's website.
However, it is recognised that some childminders may not have been able to access financial support through these routes. To assist those childminders who struggled to access financial support, or where support was less than anticipated, throughout this difficult period the Scottish Government has provided funding totalling £420,000 to the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) for a Childminding Workforce Support Fund.
As recovery progresses we know there will continue to be challenges for all across the sector in recovering from the financial impact, in supporting children and families in their return to settings against a backdrop of continued uncertainty, and in rebuilding the confidence of providers themselves in their role and future. That is why on 22 January 2021 the Scottish Government announced that a further £1 million of support will be available to provide grants to childminders to support their business sustainability. Further details on this financial support will be made available on the Scottish Government's website. We will continue to monitor closely, working in collaboration with the SCMA and others, the longer term impacts to childminding sustainability as we progress through the stages of pandemic recovery.