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.


Durham – UK,

moments ago

Is this going to be paid for by the much-referred to “one-off bonus windfall tax” too? Milliband & Balls must have found that magic money tree again, eh?

shadow warrior,

Crawley, United Kingdom,

moments ago

It is all very well offering this, but there are not enough of Nurseries or Childminders who will be able to provide this. West Sussex is already struggling to offer the 15hrs Free Entitlement, the current government has promised, partly this is because the rate they pay is lower than the normal rate providers charge and in part as Childminders are leaving the profession due to the policies of the current Childrens’ Minister. But as has been said, people will buy this, before realising that it is a hollow promise.

Time for revolution,

Stockton, United Kingdom,

25 minutes ago

Beware a Geek baring gifts!!!!

Time for revolution,

Stockton, United Kingdom,

26 minutes ago

The problem for the Tories is that these promises (if you believe them) resonate with voters. They will blindly vote for such false promises no matter that it would drive us to another massive deficit.

The Granny,


28 minutes ago

I don’t think that will go down well with people that don’t have children in their lives!

Billy Yerache,

London, United Kingdom,

31 minutes ago

When is this idiot going to step down and let his brother come back?


San Pedro, Philippines,

41 minutes ago

When has Labour not promised more spending to win elections. It is the idiots who believe that this comes at no cost that vote for them – or the remaining union members! Millipede and his Balls should go on a good governance course, and learn how to save NOT spend!

David – Thailand,

Chonburi, Thailand,

59 minutes ago

What’s free? Does this lying Socialist dare to tell us who is going to pay for all this ‘free’ stuff?


Leeds, United Kingdom,

1 hour ago

II think all politicians are the same but Miliband is the only politician going on about the cost of living the Tories couldn’t care less that people are hurting or struggling to pay for food. Cameron only spoke to those six energy companies after John Major spoke up about how much people are struggling from being fleeced by these companies, still think Cameron cares about you? he only wants your vote at the next election and Osborne only cares about getting Camerons job.


Greensboro NC,

1 hour ago

Nothing is free. Stupid.

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