Labour promise free clubs for all to combat ‘crippling’ childcare cost

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Labour promise free clubs for all to combat ‘crippling’ childcare cost

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unding for breakfast and after school should be provided for all children to combat the “crippling” costs of childcare, Labour has said.

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson has laid out plans to help parents with spiraling daycare prices.

The average cost of childcare across the UK has risen to £274 a week per child, which for many women outstrips their salary.

In London costs are even higher, with working parents paying around £1,700 a month to place a two-year-old in nursery.

Ms Phillipson said the current childcare system is “broken” and pledged a plan for extra investment to early years’ development.

During a visit to the Thomas Coram Centre in Camden on Thursday, she said: “Labour has a Children’s Recovery Plan coming out of the pandemic that would deliver extra investment into our early years, but also provide breakfast clubs and after school activities for all children too because we know the impact of the pandemic on all children’s learning and development has been really serious.

“We’re looking very carefully at the kind of system that we need to have because we know at the moment the current system is broken, very complicated and hard for parents to access and parents face crippling costs around childcare.”

Currently, all three to four year olds are eligible for 15 hours a week of free childcare.

Some people are eligible for 30 hours of free childcare depending on their employment, income and circumstances.

Many parents at the Thomas Coram Centre who would not normally be eligible are offered the full 30 hours, funded by Camden council’s enhanced offer initiative supported by the Sutton Trust.

Steph Griffin-Wright, 27, and her son William, aged 4, benefit from the scheme.

She said: “William started going to the Thomas Coram Centre for 15 hours a week when he was two years old through a government scheme. When William was about to turn three, I got the opportunity to apply for [the] enhanced offer’.

“The extra nursery hours meant I could accept and I’m working in an admin role at a youth charity alongside studying for my business admin level 3.

“Having that time in nursery means he’ll be ready for the challenge of school and as we’re already in a routine, it won’t be a shock for him.”

Bridget Phillipson with Camden council’s Marcus Boyland and Perina Holness

/ Evening Standard

Ms Phillipson added: “It was incredibly powerful to hear from the parents about the impact that having accessible childcare has had on their lives and also on their children too allowing particularly mothers to take up work and opportunities.”

The Government has proposed changing the law to increase the number of toddlers carers are legally allowed to look after at one time with the hope savings on staffing costs would be passed on to parents.

But just 59 per cent of Local Authorities report having enough childcare available for parents working full time, down from 68 per cent last year, according to Coram Family and Childcare’s annual survey.