Child Care

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 20th May 2003.

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Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 11:30 am, 20th May 2003

If he will bring forward proposals to increase child care provision in the House of Commons.

Photo of Mr Archy Kirkwood Mr Archy Kirkwood Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

The House provides help with child care through a child care voucher scheme for staff of the House, and also makes places available in a subsidised holiday play scheme for children of school age during the summer recess. This is open to children of Members, their staff, and staff of the House. The Administration Committee, however, is reviewing options for the possible extension of child care provision on the parliamentary estate and off site. The Commission expects to receive the Committee's findings before the summer recess.

Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that reply, but I am curious as to whether the Commission has considered the use of allowances to pay for such child care. Could Members do that?

Photo of Mr Archy Kirkwood Mr Archy Kirkwood Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

I understand that Members can use allowances for child care for members of their staff, but they cannot do so for their own children. If the hon. Gentleman has any other suggestions to make about such matters, it would be helpful for the Administration Committee to have access to his views so that they can be taken into account in the finalisation of the review before the report comes to the Commission.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Conservative, Buckingham

What objection is there to the establishment and maintenance of a crèche?

Photo of Mr Archy Kirkwood Mr Archy Kirkwood Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

There are constraints on the House. There is no space available for the proper provision of child care facilities on site or immediately off it. However, phase 2 of our review of space is being undertaken by the House authorities, and I confidently expect that the provision of such accommodation for child care facilities can be taken account of in the review.