Parents face a 'childcare crunch', says Miliband

Mr Miliband will point out that there are 35,000 fewer childcare places and
576 fewer Sure Start centres than at the last general election as he sets
out his party’s plans to “stand up for families” and help parents
tackle the “cost of living crisis”.

The Opposition leader unveiled a number of Labour’s childcare policies at the
party conference in September, including an extension of free childcare for
three and four year-olds to 25 hours a week for working parents, paid for by
a bank levy.

Labour would also provide a legal guarantee of access to childcare from 8am to
6pm at primary schools.

On a visit to a nursery, Mr Miliband will promise to “make work pay”.

He will say: “Millions of parents are facing a childcare crunch.

“The cost of a nursery place is now the highest in history, at more than £100
a week to cover part-time hours.

“And average costs for a full-time place are now rising up to £200 or
even more.

“That means a typical parent doing a part time job would have to work from
Monday until Thursday just to cover these costs of childcare.

“Rising prices have been matched only by falling numbers of places. David
Cameron denounced Labour before the last election for warning that the
Tories might put Sure Start at risk.

“But an average of three Sure Start centres is being lost every single
week, contributing to a total of 35,000 fewer childcare places under David
Cameron. And all at a time when the number of children under-fours in
England has risen by 125,000.

“This childcare crunch is affecting families with kids at school too.
Parents are facing a daily obstacle course as they seek to balance work and
family life.

“Under the last government 99 per cent of schools provided access to
breakfast clubs and after-school clubs. But more than a third of local
authorities have reported this has been scaled back in their area under
David Cameron.

“That’s what you get from this Government – tax cuts for millionaires,
cuts in childcare places for millions of families.

“The Tories say they care about families but they have done nothing to help
for three years while all the time adding to the stress and strain of family

“If it’s bad for families, it’s bad for Britain too. Parents who want to
work should be able to do so. We need to use the talents of everyone if we
are to succeed as an economy and keep social security bills down.”

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Parents face a 'childcare crunch', says Miliband
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