Labour is proposing to give the parents of primary school children guaranteed access to childcare between 8am to 6pm under its plans to help working families.
Childcare will be a “top priority” for the 2015 general election, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said, as activists began to gather for the party conference in Brighton.
The initiative, which Labour is expected to say can he be paid for through existing central government funds, is one of several cost of living issues which are to be the focus of the conference.
Other policy pledges reportedly include strengthening the minimum wage in specific sectors such as retail and catering, as well as fresh action to crack down on energy bills.
Ms Cooper, who is also shadow minister for women and equalities, told The Guardian: “Childcare is a top priority for the next election. It’s about supporting families, the economy and equality. It’s a really important issue for us and we want to go further than we have before.
“One question I hear time and again from working mums with school age children is why does it need to be this hard?
“But this government is making things worse – it’s harder now for parents to find the childcare they need before and after school.”
In a separate newspaper interview, shadow Treasury chief secretary Rachel Reeves, said people earning £60,000 a year might not feel “particularly rich” and should not be targeted by tax increases.
She insisted Labour had “no plans or desire” to increase taxes for people in that income bracket, but instead the focus would be on the “privileged few” at the very top of the income scale.
Ms Reeves also indicated a Labour government would ensure that the national minimum wage would rise to keep pace with prices and average earnings.
“The focus should be on a privileged few right at the top, and that’s not people earning £50,000 or £60,000 a year. If you’re a single-earner family in the South East on (that income), you don’t feel particularly rich, and you’d be aggrieved that people earning between £150,000 and £1m are getting a tax cut,” she said.
“We don’t have any plans or desire to increase tax on people in that band of income,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
Ahead of the event, former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott urged Labour leader Ed Miliband to produce concrete policy proposals and has questioned the “character” of the new generation of Labour MPs.
He said Mr Miliband’s attempts to appear strong by seeking a confrontation with the unions were “not enough” and he needed to put forward a “coherent” agenda.
In an interview with Total Politics magazine, Lord Prescott said Mr Miliband had to set out a “very clear idea” and a “vision” about what he wanted to achieve as Labour leader.
The conference comes as Mr Miliband has been forced to deny any involvement in attempts to smear opponents amid claims that “damaging” emails could have been sent by him to one of the key figures in a plot to attack senior Tories.
The potential link between Mr Miliband and Derek Draper, who was behind a proposed Labour-supporting political gossip website, is among the latest allegations in a memoir from Gordon Brown’s former spin doctor.
The drip-feed of claims from Damian McBride threatens to overshadow the Labour Party conference despite Mr Miliband’s efforts to seize the initiative by announcing he would scrap the “bedroom tax” if he wins the 2015 general election.
In the latest extracts from Mr McBride’s memoir Power Trip, being serialised in the Daily Mail, the former member of the Brown inner circle suggests Mr Miliband could “have problems” if any emails to Mr Draper became public.
Labour sources denied that Mr Miliband had any involvement in the proposed Red Rag website, which ultimately brought about the downfall of Mr McBride.
Source Article from http://uk.news.yahoo.com/miliband-smear-involvement-claims-untrue-034610490.html
Labour Bid For Parent Vote With Childcare Plan
childcare – Yahoo! News Search Results
childcare – Yahoo! News Search Results