THERE is so often a gap between what we are promised and what happens in reality.

Last spring’s Budget was a “Budget for growth” but since then we’ve slipped into recession. Today’s Budget will be billed as one of tax cuts even though the tax take will continue to rise until 2029.

One eye catching measure in last spring's Budget was the promise of more free childcare.

“Hundreds of thousands more working parents will be supported through an extension of the free childcare on offer, more than doubling the current support in place,” said the Government press release. “This will help mums in particular to stay in work and keep the economy growing.”

This makes perfect sense. There are thousands of unfilled vacancies so childcare is needed to free up parents to fill those vacancies and, in turn, earn money to spend on their children.

“This is a transformational change that will make a difference to families across the country,” said the Government.

Yet there is a huge gap between what was promised and what is happening in reality. Nurseries have long been saying that the money the Government was offering was not enough to make it financially viable for them to offer the “free” places, and the rising cost of living – wages, council tax, energy, inflation – is putting even greater pressure on them and that’s even before the bulk of the Government promise is offered to parents in September 2024.

As we report today, one nursery in Rishi Sunak’s own Richmond constituency is Brambly Hedge Day Nursery, in Northallerton, is shutting because, principally, the funding does not cover the costs.

It is extremely sad for the nursery owner, but also it is going to make life very difficult for those parents who rely on it to enable them to go to work and get the economy moving.

How many of today’s Budget promises will have unravelled before the year is out?