I declare an interest: my sister is a childminder. As well as her own 3 children, she minds another 6 or so before and after school and my admiration for her is shared by Ofsted who recently rated her "outstanding".
She will no doubt be horrified to learn that Ofsted intends to increase its registration fees from £15 to £103, as will the millions of parents who rely on after school care for their children and who will no doubt have the increase passed on to them. It is estimated that fees will rise between 190 and 2,150 per cent in the next 3 years!
A letter from the leading children's charities in today's Times newspaper points out the obvious consequence of this proposal: childcare businesses will potentially be forced to close, or they will have to push up prices. The other possible outcome is that childminders will end up breaking the law because they cannot afford the registration fee and if you are in a low income area feel you cannot raise your prices.
This isn't exactly the family friendly proposals promised by Labour at the last election - at least now those parents who need help looking after their children so they can work and pay the taxes which have helped nationalise Northern Rock finally know the truth about this Government.