HAMPSHIRE has lost a quarter of its childminders in under five years, figures show.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled an income support scheme for self-employed workers, following calls from early years leaders for the Government to provide “vital” support for childminders during the coronavirus crisis.

Ofsted data shows that 1,169 childminders were registered with the watchdog in Hampshire at the end of last year.

That was down from 1,566 in March 2015 – the earliest point for which a local breakdown is available – a decrease of 25.4 per cent in less than five years.

Of the childminders registered with Ofsted at the end of 2019, 1,108 were on the Early Years Register – meaning they care for children aged 0 to five – while 61 were not.

Across England, there were 37,620 childminders registered at the end of 2019, 11,800 fewer than in March 2015.