Labour to fight election on free childcare pledge: Miliband uses video message to put policy at heart of party's …

  • Ed Miliband signals election policy in New Year message
  • Free childcare would be funded through taxpayer
  • Would stimulate economy by helping parents back to work

Tim Shipman, Deputy Political Editor

01:33 GMT, 30 December 2013


01:33 GMT, 30 December 2013

In his New Year message ed Miliband has signaled that Labour may put free tax-payer funded childcare at the heart of its election manifesto

In his New Year message ed Miliband has signaled that Labour may put free tax-payer funded childcare at the heart of its election manifesto

Labour is to put taxpayer-funded free childcare at the heart of the party’s general election campaign, Ed Miliband signals today.

The Labour leader says he will make childcare a key plank of Labour’s attack on the cost of living in 2014, building on his pledge to freeze energy bills and crack down on pay day lenders.

In his New Year message, released as an online video today, Mr Miliband warns that Britain is in the grip of ‘biggest cost-of-living crisis in a generation’.

Labour sources have already revealed that the party is contemplating a ‘big offer’ on childcare as a centrepiece of the party’s election manifesto, which would see taxpayers fund state childcare for all pre-school children.

Those on low incomes would get free childcare while the better off would initially receive subsidised low-cost childcare places. The party might decide to make universal provision a long-term goal.

Mr Miliband says today: ‘We are in the midst of the biggest cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

‘People do not want the earth. They would much prefer some very specific promises, specific things about what a government will do – whether it’s freezing energy bills, taking action on pay day lenders, or tackling issues around childcare which lots of working parents face.

‘All of this is adding up to a programme for how we can change things.’

A Miliband aide said yesterday: ‘The cost of living crisis concerns jobs, wages and prices and childcare touches on all three of those things.

‘Greater availability of childcare ensures that it pays people to work. A huge number of women say that they can’t afford to go back to work because of childcare costs.’

Labour has been emboldened by a report earlier this month by the Institute for Public Policy Research which calculated that attracting 280,000 people back into the labour market would save almost £1.5bn in extra tax revenue and lower spending on benefits and tax credits.

Jon Cruddas, the MP who is leading Labour’s policy review, has said the party is considering paying fathers to go to antenatal classes and hospital appointments with their expectant partners.

Miliband says that offering the service will stimulate the economy by getting more parents back to work

Miliband says that offering the service will stimulate the economy by getting more parents back to work

In a recent speech to the Civitas think tank he said he was ‘looking at paid leave for prospective fathers to attend antenatal sessions and hospital appointments during pregnancy’.

Labour has also promised to increase the 15 hours of free childcare a week for three- and four-year-olds introduced by the Coalition to 25 hours.

In a pitch for votes in marginal constituencies, Mr Miliband says: ‘Every morning I get up I’m going to be thinking about you, about how I can make your life better, your life easier – no easy answers – not an easy life – but how do we tip the balance towards hope and away from the struggles that you are facing.’

In an attack on the Tories, who say that they have a ‘long-term plan’ to put the economy back on track, Mr Miliband today insists that his pledges to ease the cost of living are not just gimmicks but also represent a coherent plan which will boost national economic strength over the next few years.

He says: ‘People are thinking they have made the sacrifices – and the Government keeps telling them that everything is fixed. But it does not seem fixed to them.’ ‘The Tories want to change the conversation from the cost of living crisis. They will talk about anything else.

‘We are going to show to people in 2014 how by standing up for the right people…we can earn and grow our way to a higher standard of living for people.’

He adds: ‘It matters so much now for people who cannot afford to pay their gas bill or do the weekly shop.

‘And it matters so much for the future too because so many people are thinking what future is there in this country for kids, my son or daughter, my niece or nephew, how are we going to make a difference for them?’

The comments below have not been moderated.



21 minutes ago

The cost of living crisis is, in reality, a debt and taxes crisis caused by Labour spending more on feckless layabouts than they raised in taxes and creating non-jobs in the public sector in order to claim to be bringing down unemployment. Yet they haven’t learnt. More money handed selectively to their clientele whilst everyone else suffers. When will Labour realise that to give somebody something for nothing, first somebody has to earn something and that money is then taken away from them, meaning they work for nothing.


London, United Kingdom,

45 minutes ago

Here we go again, spend, spend, spend keep trying to bribe the fools and kill the goose that lays the golden egg or do you get the money off a money tree. You complete idiot.

grumpy old git,


52 minutes ago

Miliband, you stupid man, nothing is free, the hard working tax payer foots the bill.


LERVISH, United Kingdom,

1 hour ago

A vote for Labour is a vote for the destruction of this country.


Harrogate, United Kingdom,

1 hour ago

Miliband is a fool offering a fools charter. NOTHING comes free, if its offered free to some then others have to pay that bill. So, Ed, how are you going to pay this rather large bill? what other service are you cutting g to make way for this one? OR, more likely, How much MORTE tax are we paying for this morsal??????

donny bob,


1 hour ago

The people with 4 -6 -8 -10 kids will love you ED, but the rest of the country “WON’T “.


Brighton UK, United Kingdom,

1 hour ago

You have lost to late Ed. We will have to put up with theses Tory’s. Again


Denver, United States,

1 hour ago

Glad to see the good old ‘socialist’ dogma is still alive and kicking! Spend, spend, spend¿other people’s money of course¿the taxpayer’s¿that’s until it runs out. Buy Hey, why worry! There have been six labour prime ministers in my lifetime, and every single one of them has been a disaster for Britain, leaving the country ina financial mess.



2 hours ago

Go for it Ed! Offer an allowance for “breast feeding”, an allowance for sharing paternity leave with your “partner”: an allowance for staying at home for the first 5 years of your child’s life: an allowance for taking your child to school: an allowance for allowing your offspring to live with you until you die: that should get you most of the female vote. And if you offer an allowance to men for effectively impregnating their “partners”, you’ll get their vote as well. Go for it…… the time you get into power the Tories will have refilled the Treasury coffers, so you’ll have loadsaa money


almeria, United Kingdom,

2 hours ago

why should Taxpayers pay for others ‘free childcare’ If you can’t afford kids, then Don’t Have Them. God help us all if Millibore and Balls get back into power.

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