Mothers day – the Coalition con on childcare


On this Mothers day, families would be forgiven for thinking they’re in for a £2000 subsidy on their childcare costs under plans recently announced in the Budget. Whilst any new money to help families facing soaring childcare costs is welcome, this Coalition con should not fool mums and dads in Birmingham.

Childcare costs have risen by 30% since 2010 – five times faster than wages. Despite the struggle this is causing families, David Cameron has no plan to tackle the rising cost of childcare before the next election. Alongside higher prices, parents are seeing fewer childcare places available and reduced support from the Government. By 2015, David Cameron will have reduced support for children and families by up to £15 billion.

Labour has a very clear offer for all working parents of 3 and 4 year olds and for all primary school age children. We’d extend free nursery provision from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents with three and four year olds. We’d also introduce a Primary Childcare Guarantee to help parents manage the logistical nightmare of arranging before and after school care. These plans are on top of the government’s scheme and would benefit all parents in work.

In contrast, just one in five families will receive help through tax free childcare and they would have to spend £10,000 per year per child to get the maximum £2000 figure. Even then, this help won’t come in until after the election. That’s no help on childcare for five years. Instead Ministers have presided over soaring costs and cut tax credits for thousands of families, meaning even when this help comes in most families will still be worse off than they were in 2010. This offer just doesn’t make up for how much more families are paying for childcare under David Cameron.

Labour is on the side of local families and would put an end to childcare holding back mums and dads.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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