Labour say free childcare proposals would benefit 1.3 million children
Labour say over a million families will benefit from the party’s plans to provide 30 hours of free childcare a week for all two to four-year-olds.
Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to scrap means-testing for the parents of two-year-olds who want free childcare and to extend the provision for three and four-year-olds to non-working parents.
As it stands, all three and four year olds, as well as around 40% of two-year-olds, are entitled to 15 hours of free early education per week.
The Conservatives have legislated to extend this to 30 hours for working parents of three and four-year-olds.
But Labour are proposing to spend an extra £5bn a year on childcare than the Tories by the end of the next parliament and pledged to spend £2.7bn on nursery buildings by 2022.
The party say their plans will help mothers re-enter in the labour market, and to “bridge the gap between maternity leave and full-time schooling in the long run.”
They add that the current system is “difficult to navigate” while “many providers refuse to accept children claiming their free hours”.
Jeremy Corbyn said the reforms would halt a system that is currently “holding back” families.
"The Labour party believes every child, no matter what their background, deserves a good start in life, and that childcare costs shouldn’t be a barrier for parents who want to go back to work,” he said.
“High quality childcare can transform a child’s life chances and make it much easier for parents to work. Labour will roll out 30 hours of free childcare a week to all two to four-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.”
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner 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”.