Nursery fee fight winning support

PUBLISHED: 03:24 14 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:21 24 May 2010

URGENT meetings have been called by Weston's prospective Liberal Democrat MP over Government plans to cut funding to nurseries across the town. Stanger Montessori in Hamilton Road has joined forces with Councillor Mike Bell to campaign against the cuts. C

URGENT meetings have been called by Weston's prospective Liberal Democrat MP over Government plans to cut funding to nurseries across the town.Stanger Montessori in Hamilton Road has joined forces with Councillor Mike Bell to campaign against the cuts.Cllr Bell says the planned removal of nursery top-up fees for three and four year olds will damage parents' choice to pick the right start for their child.Currently, children in nurseries receive a grant which goes towards the cost of their education, the rest of the fee is topped up by parents. The Government plans to ban top-up fees in April 2007 and the nursery grant alone cannot cover the basic costs for staff and wages so they may have no choice but to close or become private.Cllr Bell said: "The present system enables parents to choose the right place for their child and use the nursery grant towards whichever service they choose. The Government now wants to take away that choice - and put nurseries in Weston and elsewhere at risk."There is also a real concern that different local councils will interpret the new rules in different ways. I will be asking for an urgent meeting with council officials to clarify North Somerset's approach and ask for a continuing dialogue with local nursery providers."Stanger Montessori nursery worker Jackie Davies said: "Our campaign against the cuts is going extremely well. Our staff work really hard, they are not underpaid and their jobs are not under threat but without top-up fees nurseries may have to close all over Weston. Parents, staff and, most importantly, children will suffer."To show your support against the Government plans, visit www.saveournurseries.org.

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