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Higher nursery fees.

Higher nursery fees.

Parents could face higher fees and extra charges when the government rolls out a plan to double the number of free childcare hours, warn providers.

From September, three and four-year-olds in England will be entitled to 30 free hours of care a week in term time.

But a Pre-school Learning Alliance poll of childcare providers suggests many will struggle to offer the 30 hours as the funding will not cover their costs.

Ministers say affordable childcare is at the heart of their agenda.

PSLA Chief Executive Neil Leitch said the plan could force nurseries to close

Of 1,332 childcare providers questioned last month, only 44.2% said they definitely planned to deliver the 30 hours, compared with 95.2% who said they were providing the 15 hours currently funded by government, while more than a third (36.5%) were unsure whether to offer it.

Almost a fifth (19.3%) said they would not be introducing it and more than half of those (58%) said it was because the funding was not high enough.

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