Birmingham council leaders Solihull and Sandwell must write to the Government requesting an exception to local closure rules for relatives providing childcare.
As of today, the 1.5 million residents of Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell are officially coming under orders to ban visitors to their homes and gardens.
Police will be required to ensure that families do not allow loved ones who do not live with them – including parents, children, grandchildren, loved ones and best friends.
Residents have also been told not to visit anyone else in their home as part of a local blockade measure set up to reduce rising rates of coronavirus infection.
But the new restrictions are having a massive impact on family childcare arrangements.
Parents told us of their hardships and, in some cases, a desperate search to change their work arrangements or find alternative childcare after learning that their children could not now go to grandparents ’homes or friends.
Today Birmingham’s public health director Dr Justin Varney said all three councils were in discussion with the government to change the rules or provide an exemption because of the potential adverse impact.
Speaking to BBC WM, when asked about the childcare issue he said: “We are working on it – this is an issue not only for Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell, but also for Bolton and Greater Manchester (where the rules of similar local closures are in force)
“The way the exemption is written prevents family members from providing childcare and this is having a significant impact on many families, especially with the number of children out of school at the moment.
“So council leaders are talking together to put together a letter to the government asking that the exemption be changed a bit – it currently refers to registered child caregivers and we want them to be more in line with the guidelines we have for those who provide care and assistance to people in need. “
The current rule reads as follows:
The call for change was backed by Cllr Robert Alden, leader of the Birmingham Conservative Group, who wrote to Matt Hancock.
He said: “Tens of thousands of working parents in our city rely on informal child care.
“It may not be fair that those who can afford to pay for childcare can use it, but those who have to rely on a friend or relative can not.
“This needs to be fixed as soon as possible to ensure that people are still able to go to work and take care of their children.”
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