Huffpost UK Politics uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jonathan Reynolds Headshot

Childcare Costs Are Hitting Living Standards - Here's How a Labour Government Would Help

Posted: Updated:

As a dad with a young family I'm only too familiar with how difficult it is juggling parental duties and work. We are not helped by David Cameron and his government which abandoned Labour's programme to support school-age childcare, leaving many parents struggling to juggle work and family life.

That's why Monday's announcement that the next Labour government will commit to extending free nursery hours for three and four year olds, as well as wrap around childcare for primary school children, will make a real difference to ordinary families. Families, like those in my constituency, who are facing a cost of living crisis under David Cameron.

By 2015 the Government will have taken up to £7billion a year of support away from families with children. What David Cameron's government need to realise, is that childcare is a key part of this cost-of-living crisis. According to figures from the Family and Childcare Trust, last year nursery costs rose six times faster than wages.

For families with pre-school children, childcare costs are hitting living standards. Under David Cameron, some families are losing up to £1,500 a year in support through the childcare element of the working tax credit.

High childcare costs are squeezing families and making work unaffordable for many parents, particularly women. Asda's recent Mumdex survey showed childcare costs prevent seven in 10 stay-at-home mums working. That's why we need to do more to support families with their childcare costs.

We in Labour want to see an economy that works for working people - we need to support parents, like those in my constituency, with the costs of childcare, and ensure work pays for families

It will be the task of a One Nation Labour government to start making their life that bit easier.

To be clear, working parents will get 25 hours a week free childcare for children aged three and four. This will help families struggling with the cost of living crisis and it will mean that parents who want to work part time will be able to do so without having to worry about the cost of childcare.

This package will be funded from an increased Bank Levy. The next Labour government will increase the bank levy rate to raise an extra £800million in order to meet the cost of this extra childcare support for families. In the last financial year, the banks paid a staggering £2.7billion less in overall tax than they did in 2010. Over the last two years the government's bank levy has raised £1.6billion less than they said it would. At a time when resorces are tight and families are under pressure that cannot be right.

For families with school-age children, there will be a 'Primary Childcare Guarantee'. This will give all parents of primary school children the guarantee of access to childcare through their school from 8am-6pm.

The extra 10 hours of free childcare (on top of the 15-hour early years entitlement) would be available to households with three and four-year-old children where all adults are in work - either single-parent households where the single parent is in work, or couple households with both adults in work.

The 15-hour early years entitlement will remain universal, and as with the 15-hour early years entitlement, the new 25-hour offer is for 38 weeks a year. The value of this extra childcare support is over £1,500 per child per year.

I'm proud that One Nation Labour are making such as strong commitment to hard working families in Britain.