The radical expansion of free childcare to all exceeds the Lib Dems’ offer, and will save families thousands of pounds a year. It will be accompanied by opening a Sure Start centre in every community to “unlock the potential of all our children”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner also outlined Labour’s £1 billion investment to reverse the Conservatives’ cuts to Sure Start and open 1,000 new centres in England.
Since the Conservatives entered government, 1,000 Sure Start centres have been closed.
Labour’s plans to radically expand free childcare to 30 hours a week for all 2-4 year olds, which will save families thousands of pounds a year.
New analysis by the House of Commons Library, commissioned by Labour, found that under the expansion of free childcare that Labour will deliver:
· the average parent of a two year old not currently eligible for childcare support would save over £5,000 a year
· parents with children aged 2-4 who are currently only eligible for 15 hours, would save over £2,500 a year
Labour’s expansion of 30 hours of free childcare will benefit over 880,000 3 and 4 years olds, and over 500,000 two years olds by the end of the Parliament.
This comes as new analysis shows childcare costs have risen twice as fast as wages under the Tories.
Evidence suggests that early years education for children below the age of four has a positive impact on the life chances of disadvantaged children, but overall disadvantaged children spend significantly less time in pre-school than children from more affluent backgrounds. The attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged counterparts is already evident when children begin school aged 5, with a gap between them the equivalent of 4.3 months of learning. This gap more than doubles to 9.5 months at the end of primary school, and then more than doubles again to 19.3 months at the end of secondary school
Labour will unlock the potential of all our children by:
· Rolling out 30 hours of free childcare a week for all 2-4 year olds to give all our children the best possible start in life, saving families thousands of pounds a year;
· Funding new Sure Start centres in Mid-Bedfordshire;
· Providing free school meals for all primary school children to end the stigma and ensure no child goes hungry at school;
· Investing in our schools, fully reversing Tory cuts to give every school the funding it needs;
· Ending the benefit freeze, the two child limit and scrapping Universal Credit which is pushing families into poverty;
Rhiannon Meades, Labour’s Candidate in Mid Bedfordshire, said:
“This is the real change that the next Labour government is going to bring to people’s lives.
“Just imagine how much easier this will make life and work for the parents of young families.
“I know from experience how brilliant Sure Start was for me and my daughter. Everyone should have the same opportunity here in Mid Beds.
“You can’t trust the Tories and the Lib Dems with childcare – they cut more than a thousand Sure Start centres across the country.
“We’re ending that. Labour’s going to deliver real change.”
Mid Beds Labour Press Release.