Monday, 18 November 2013

Ed Miliband today identifies childcare as a key front in One Nation Labour’s battle to tackle the cost of living crisis

Ed Miliband today identifies childcare as a key front in One Nation Labour’s battle to tackle the cost of living crisis.

He will say parents who are already struggling to cope with rising bills and stagnant wages, are now facing a childcare crunch with the cost of nursery places rising while hundreds of Sure Start centres have been lost since the last election.
He will publish new figures showing that since the last election:
  • The cost of a part time nursery place has risen by 30% - five times faster than pay.
  • The average bill for a part time nursery place of 25 hours a week for a child aged 2 or over has gone up to £107.
  • Parents working part time on average wages would  have to work from Monday until Thursday before they paid off these weekly childcare costs.  
  • There are 578 fewer Sure Start centres – with on average three fewer every week – with lower numbers of staff and reduced service levels.
  • There are 35,000 fewer childcare places.

He will criticise David Cameron for promising to back Sure Start at the last election and then presiding over a child care crunch in which hundreds of centres have been lost – while too many of those that remain are operating with reduced staff and services.
In contrast to the Government which has done nothing to support families over the past three years, Mr Miliband will set out Labour’s plan to:
  • Extend free childcare for three and four year olds from 15 to 25 hours per week for working parents of three and four year-olds  funded by increasing the banking levy
  • Introduce a legal guarantee of access to wraparound care 8am to 6pm at primary schools

On a visit to a nursery with members of Labour’s Childcare Commission on Monday, Mr Miliband is expected to say:
“Millions of parents are facing a childcare crunch. The cost of a nursery place is now the highest in history, at more than £100 a week to cover part-time hours. That means a typical parent doing a part time job would have to work from Monday until Thursday just to cover these costs of childcare. And average costs for a full time place are now rising up to £200 or even more.
“Rising prices have been matched only by falling numbers of places. And hundreds of Sure Start centres have been lost, contributing to a total of 35,000 fewer childcare places under David Cameron. All at a time when the number of children under-4s in England has risen by 125,000. 
“Before the last election. David Cameron described Labour as a ‘disgrace’ for warning that the Tories would put Sure Start at risk. He added: ‘Not only do we back Sure Start, but we will improve it.’
“This morning they were at it again, boasting that there were more than 3,000 Sure Start Centres across the country. 
“But let’s look at the official government statistics: there are, indeed, 3053 Sure Start Centres. But in April 2010 there were 3,631 Sure Start Centres. That is 578 fewer Sure Start Centres than before the election. That is an average of three Sure Start Centres being lost every single week of this government. And too many of those that remain have lower staffing levels and reduced services.
“This childcare crunch is affecting families with kids at school too. Parents are facing a daily obstacle course as they seek to balance work and family life. 
“Under the last government 99% of schools provided access to breakfast clubs and after-school clubs.  But more than a third of local authorities have reported this has been scaled back in their area under David Cameron. 

“That’s what you get from this government: tax cuts for millionaires, cuts in childcare places for millions of families. The Tories say they care about families but they have done nothing to help for three years while all the time adding to the stress and strain of family life. 

“If it’s bad for families, it’s bad for Britain too. Parents who want to work should be able to do so. We need to use the talents of everyone if we are to succeed as an economy and keep social security bills down.  Seven out of 10 stay at home mums tell surveys that the cost of childcare has deterred them from looking for a job.

“One Nation Labour would stand up for families and make work pay. We would extend free nursery places for 3 and 4 year olds from 15 to 25 hours a week for parents at work. And we would offer a legal guarantee to parents with kids at primary school that they can access breakfast clubs or homework clubs, allowing Mums and Dads to do a full days’ work knowing their children are safe and cared for.”

Labour Party

No comments:

Post a Comment