EIGHT NURSERIES providing childcare for employees of HM Revenue & Customs are to close by November this year, it has been confirmed.
Both Bright Horizons – which manages the nurseries – and HMRC said the nurseries will close their doors once their current contract ends.
Bright Horizons has a contract with HMRC’s landlord, Mapeley, but it was decided not enough children of HMRC staff were using the facilities, and as such the contract has not been renewed.
Gareth Hills, president of the Association of Revenue & Customs (ARC), which represents professionals and senior management at HMRC, described the move as “extremely disappointing”.
He said: “An adverse effect is bound to be had on ARC members and other HMRC staff. Despite those [warnings], the decision to close went ahead.
“It was for a long time part of HMRC’s HR policy to provide workplace nurseries and dedicated rooms for nursing mothers to use. It’s something a good, modern employer should offer to its staff.
“We will go back to HMRC and press them for the figures to support what they are saying about take-up of places, and that’s something we are looking to explore.”
HMRC said the move was not about cost, but it had taken the decision as providing childcare “is not part of its core business”. It said it would continue to provide support to its staff through the childcare voucher scheme.
The nurseries closing are: Cheeky Cherubs in Manchester; Deansgate Nursery in Wolverhampton; Nippers Nursery in Leicestershire; Peter Bennett Nursery in Leeds; Castle Meadow Day Nursery in Nottingham; Chaucers Walk in Blackburn, Lancashire; First Friends Nursery in Cardiff; and Hector’s House Nursery in East Kilbride, Glasgow.
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