AN MP is urging the Government to listen to the “dire warnings” from the struggling early years sector after new research showed an alarming number of nurseries are being forced to close.

The closed nurseries, which includes Windy Millers in Birstall, cited the Government’s underfunding of their 30-hours ‘free’ childcare policy as the main reason.

During a debate in the House of Commons, Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen, and Shadow Minister for Early Years, said: “The National Day Nursery Alliances’ survey last week exposed the scale of closures caused by underfunding the 30 hours entitlement – a rise of nearly half over a year."

The National Day Nurseries Alliance annual survey found rising business costs, inadequate funding rates and growing deficits are causing huge challenges for nurseries.

Ms Brabin said the response she received from a Tory minister about the issue was "condescending".