Nursery leaders in Suffolk are warning that government funding for childcare will "not be enough" and that nurseries may have to shut on the eve of an extension to the state support.

As of Monday, two-year-olds in England will be entitled to 15 hours of funded childcare a week as the government seeks to address difficulties parents face in paying for care and to encourage them to return to work.

The money is the first stage of support for working parents, with nine-month-olds set to receive 15 hours of funded childcare by September.

READ MORE: Suffolk nurseries staffing costs fear over childcare plans

By September 2025, all under-fives will receive 30 hours of support.

However, Allie Green, owner and manager at The Granary nursery in Framlingham, warned that nurseries were closing nationally, while her own business - and other nurseries nearby - had long waiting lists for places.

She said nurseries were being "squeezed" by being unable to charge top-up fees, which would help to make up the government funding shortfall, while staff costs were also increasing due to a rise in the minimum wage.

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Ipswich Star: Allie Green, owner and manager at The Granary, pictured far left with staff membersAllie Green, owner and manager at The Granary, pictured far left with staff members (Image: Granary Nursery)She said: "The problem is that nationally there are nurseries closing left, right and centre because it is not sustainable long-term and we are now having to dig deep to try and find a way to stay afloat.

"It is a very stressful time for nursery owners."

She also questioned descriptions of the funding as "free childcare", adding: "It is not free. It comes at a price. We cannot provide the quality of provision that we are expected to with the funding that we are provided with."

READ MORE: Framlingham news

Nurseries can, however, charge for extras such as meals, nappies and trips.

Debbie Hayward, from Presmere Day Nursery at Pettistree, echoed Ms Green's sentiments.

She said: “The funding for the government childcare is not enough for us to remain a sustainable business and to enable us to offer the service we pride ourselves on at the moment.

"Although marketed as free by the government for parents it clearly costs us to provide this care and parents need to be aware that there will have to be some charges to them”.