Isle of Man pre-school credit scheme announced

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A credit scheme for pre-school care has been announced by the Isle of Man government after thousands of parents opposed cuts in childcare.

The department of education recently withdrew funding for 11 pre-school facilities in a drive to cut spending.

The decision prompted protests outside Tynwald when parents presented a petition with thousands of signatures.

The new system will mean a contribution of £350 a year for all families and £1,500 a year for lower earners.

Education Minister Peter Karran said: "It's very little but the point is the department has had to make financial priorities - we don't want to make any cuts to the service but we have to make sure we protect our core services."

The scheme, which will take effect from Autumn 2012, has been the green light from the Council of Ministers after a working group was established to find an alternative to initial cuts.

It is expected to cost in the region of £400,000 a year as opposed to the £1.7m bill for providing pre-school places for all.

A spokesman said government facilities will be let out to private organisations which will be expected to comply with standards set out by the department of education.

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