Childcare plan for working parents

Working parents will receive 25 hours of free childcare a week under a Labour government for any children they have aged three and four, Ed Balls will pledge.

The Shadow Chancellor intends to increase the number of hours covered by state funding to households where single parents or both parents in a couple hold down jobs.

It comes on top of Labour’s pledge at the start of its autumn conference in Brighton to provide wraparound care through schools to help ease the childcare burden for families.

Mr Balls will make the announcement in a speech to activists where he will also attempt to underline the party’s “iron discipline” on spending amid claims there is a £27 million black hole in its plans.

Telling delegates that Labour needs to be “straight” with the country about the tough choices the party would have to take in office – including budget cuts to help balance the books – he will outline plans to bring in the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to audit Labour spending commitments ahead of the next election

But Conservative Sajid Javid, who released an analysis by Treasury officials which he said showed Labour promises would require more than £1,000 extra borrowing per household in 2015, dismissed the move as a “stunt”.

The Treasury minister said: “Ed Balls knows this is not allowed under the Budget Responsibility Act and the OBR’s Charter, so this is just a stunt to try and distract attention from the fact that Labour have been found out for making unfunded commitments that would just mean more borrowing and more debt.

“Nothing has changed – it’s the same old Labour. Ed Balls and Ed Miliband still want more spending, more borrowing and more debt – exactly how they got us into a mess in the first place.”

Mr Balls will use his conference speech to outline how Labour will tackle the so-called “cost of living crisis” by reforming spending priorities.

That includes increasing free childcare for three and four-year-olds from 15 to 25 hours per week for working families while the 15-hour early years entitlement will remain universal, all funded through an increase in the bank levy.

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Childcare plan for working parents
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