Today, many families are faced with difficult choices about how they balance work and family life. In some families, parents who want to work are being prevented from doing so because the rising cost of childcare makes it unaffordable - while others increasingly struggle to find decent before- and after-school placements at all.
Under the Conservatives, the problem is getting worse. Too many parents are struggling to cope as the cost of childcare soars and the availability of places falls. David Cameron has broken his promise on Sure Start, with 628 fewer children's centres across the country since 2010. By 2015, the Tories will have taken away up to £15 billion in support for children and families.
Families need more help with childcare: it’s good for families and good for the economy. But with no plan to tackle the rising cost of childcare before the election, it is clear the Tories don’t recognise the pressures that families face today.
Labour has a plan to give families the support they need.
- We will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents with three and four-year-olds paid for by an increase in the bank levy. This will benefit nearly half a million three and four-year-olds and their families and help parents overcome the barrier to getting back to work or working more hours.
- We will introduce a primary childcare guarantee - a legal guarantee that parents of primary-aged children can access childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local school, helping families tackle the logistical nightmare that before- and after-school childcare can become.
- We will renew and reinvigorate Sure Start, reforming the way local services work together to shift from sticking-plaster services to radical early help, to provide good quality support to all families that need it.