New Clause 1 — Childcare provision

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 5:42 pm on 8th April 2014.

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Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Treasury) 5:42 pm, 8th April 2014

I beg to move, That the clause be now read a Second time.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Amess. New clause 1 draws attention to the rising costs of child care for working parents since 2010, and seeks to commit the Government to addressing their failure in that regard. It also seeks to establish ways in which the tax and benefit systems could be used to make child care more affordable before April 2015, so that hard-working families experiencing a cost of living crisis can have the help that they need now, especially in the light of the challenges that they face as a result of changes made by this coalition Government.

The new clause gives us a welcome opportunity to explore one of the most pressing issues that face millions of parents throughout the country, and to address the fact that millions of families are facing a child care crunch. It is important to set the issue in context by revealing just what has happened to child care costs on this Government’s watch. The average bill for a part-time nursery place providing 25 hours a week has risen to £107, the highest level in history. The cost of nursery places has risen by 30% since 2010, five times faster than pay, and the average weekly cost of a full-time place has risen to £200 or more. That means that parents working part time on average wages would have to work from Monday until Thursday before they had even paid their weekly child care costs.