More than a million children and their families will benefit from Labour plans for universal provision of 30 hours of free childcare a week for all two to four-year-olds.
Labour will extend 30-hour childcare to more children by eliminating means testing for two-year-olds and no longer restricting provision for three and four-year-olds to children whose parents are working. This will benefit an additional 1.3 million children.
At the moment, only 40% of two-year-olds qualify for childcare and many working parents with three and four-year-old children are not getting the childcare they were promised by the Conservatives at the last election because of the complexity of the rules. Meanwhile, Tory cuts have also led to the loss of 1,240 Sure Start centres nationwide. Kirklees has lost 17 Sure Start centres, a reduction from 32 to 15.
Labour’s universal childcare policy will help ensure all children have a good start in life and remove barriers to parents, especially women, participating in the labour market.
Labour’s National Education Service will create a high-quality, universal childcare system that will bridge the gap between maternity leave and full-time schooling in the long run.
Speaking after a visit to Little Acorns Nusery in Gomersal, Tracy Brabin, Labour candidate in Batley & Spen, said:
“Any parent will tell you how difficult it is to get high quality, affordable childcare. The need for improvement in Batley and Spen is clear as the average parent in Britain is spending almost twice as much on part-time childcare as they do on food each year.
“I’m proud so many of the nurseries in Batley and Spen have been cited as outstanding and I want all children to be able to take advantage of them irrespective of background because I know high quality childcare can transform a child’s life chances. It’s only right Labour will roll out 30 hours of free childcare a week to all 2-4 year olds to give all our children the best possible start in life, as part of our plan to build a country for the many, not the few.
“We all remember the Tories at the last general election promising 30 free hours a week of childcare but they haven’t funded it properly and it hasn’t materialised. We can and must do better.”
Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:
“The Conservatives’ 2015 promise to provide parents 30 free hours of childcare a week has unravelled, as they have failed to give the policy the funding it needs. Too many parents have been let down, unable to go back to work due to the cost of childcare.
“Unlike the Conservatives, Labour will properly fund childcare to help parents get back into work and ensure all children, no matter what their background, have access to high quality child care they deserve. The Conservatives are failing to deliver on early years education, there are now over 1,240 fewer designated Sure Start children’s centres than when the Conservatives entered government. It is clear Theresa May and the Conservatives can’t be trusted with our children’s futures.”