From November 2012, 8 of HMRC's on-site Bright Horizons nurseries will be closed for good. The closures will leave countless families scrambling for alternative nursery place in a very slim timeframe. The nursery staff have been made redundant. Last but not least, scores of babies,toddlers and pre school children will have their early year's education disrupted as well as being parted from their friends and carers.
The decision is a puzzling one. The quality off Bright Horizon's care is not in question. HMRC claims that the take up of nursery places is dropping but this simply isn't the case. The nurseries remain as popular as ever, with outsiders as well as HMRC staff. Places are not subsidised by HMRC nor do they own the buildings..
The nurseries affected are:
Nippers Nursery, Leicester
Hector's House, East Kilbride.
First Friends, Ty Glas.
Castle Meadow, Nottingham.
Peter Bennett House, Leeds
Cheeky Cherubs, Salford
Chaucers Walk, Blackburn
Sign this petition to show that demand is still high for HMRC nurseries and persuade HMRC to reconsider its decision.
See Campaign Facebook page for more details:
Dear Mr Gauke,
As exchequer secretary to the treasury and therefore directly responsible for HMRC, we ask you to reconsider the department's recent decision to close its workplace nurseries.
The nurseries are a valuable resource for both HMRC staff and local parents. They cost HMRC nothing to run and most are on purpose built sites unsuitable for office use.
The decision of HMRC to close them is puzzling. Its stated reasons are that numbers in the nurseries is falling but this is not the case. HMRC does not subsidise the nurseries and has already stated it will gain nothing financially from their closure so it is hard to see why this should be a concern to them even if it were the case which it is not. Bright Horizons, the nursery provider certainly sees them as viable as they have fought to keep the contract-only to have HMRC refuse to negotiaite.
While there may not be gains to HMRC, there are great losses to the children, parents and nursery staff. Many parents now face increased childcare costs that the childcare voucher scheme cannot mitigate, a necessity to work fewer hours to fit increased journey times to new providers. Some will have to consider leaving work altogether.
Workplace nurseries are surely the way forward if we are to encourage people into work and off benefits and to fit in with the government's aim to help more women backk into work. This move will only cause working families more hardship in already tough times and lead to dedicated and experienced childcare staff joining the ranks of the unemployed.
Please reconsider this decision.