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Wirral MP joins fight to save day nursery from closure
BIRKENHEAD MP Frank Field has joined parents in their fight against the planned closure of a children's day nursery in his constituency.
Riverbank Nursery in Woodside is owned by the Department for Work and Pensions. It was built to provide on-site nursery provision for staff working at the Birkenhead branch of the Child Maintenance Group.
But its users have now been told by the government department that it is closing the facility in September to cut costs.
The decision has devastated parents, who say it will lead to undue stress in the search for a replacement nursery.
Mr Field has written to the DWP urging them to reverse the decision or take steps to ensure parents can still be able to access high-quality nursery provision without being made worse off.
But it has emerged in the DWP's reply to Frank that parents will be made worse off by the decision, as the replacement subsidy being offered to parents will reduce their entitlement to tax credits.
Mr Field said: "There is a perfectly clear reason why the Riverbank Nursery has proved so popular with parents over the years.
"Its staff have built up incredibly strong bonds with the children and in doing so have been able to provide top-class childcare.
"For the department to tell parents they can no longer access this, and to make them worse off in the process, is appalling."
In a statement, the DWP said: "The contract was due to expire and on review we felt that ongoing workplace nursery provision was no longer appropriate.
"Alternative provision exists, including a DWP employee salary sacrifice scheme. This allows employers to purchase childcare vouchers and make significant savings through tax relief, saving up to £933 per year per parent.
"We have given parents as much notice as we can, and are also offering a day's special leave providing more time for them to make a suitable arrangement."