Nursery mums handing petition to Tower Hamlets mayor over shock rent hype
- Credit: Mike Brooke
Mums with children are protesting outside Tower Hamlets Council this morning over the threat of rocketing rents which could cripple 10 voluntary-run nurseries and play-groups.
They are handing in a petition to Mayor John Biggs calling for their nurseries to be included in a deal to give community organisations an 80 per cent discount when council premises are re-evaluated for rental income.
The nurseries were not included in the discount for community groups when the council voted in November to bring in commercial rents.
But they are run as non-profit entities, the campaigning parents point out, and should be included in the discount.
“We are not commercial nurseries,” Bethnal Green’s Scalliwags ‘parent partnership’ nursery chair Kate Gold told the East London Advertiser.
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“Community groups meeting in council premises get discount from the market value. But we’ve been excluded from the discount policy approved by the mayor’s cabinet in November. Many rents are to increase from £1 a day to £10,000 a year. This rise in rents will be unaffordable.”
She is leading a delegation to the town hall to hand in the petition which says: “Many parents cannot afford to pay for childcare outside term-time. The Council needs to understand the vital role that community playgroups and nurseries play.
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“Staff do extra work, unpaid, to prepare children for school. Special needs are identified and worked on without the benefit of funding.”
The campaigners claim there is a town hall assumption that “nurseries and playgroups are well funded”, which they say is not the case. Nurseries only get government funding for 38 weeks a year, they point out, but pay staff for 45 weeks.