It is a pleasure to take part in this debate. It is always interesting to hear Catherine McKinnell. Essentially, she seeks to press a reset button in relation to a new Labour history—is it new Labour any more?—of child care. It seems that for Labour life started—or, it might say, ended—in 2010.
We did get to an element of truth at the end of the hon. Lady’s remarks when we heard reference to the previous Labour Government’s policies. When I came into Parliament in 2005, the Labour Government announced a new tax relief for child care benefits, which, as we heard, then went through various stages. In September 2009, the then Prime Minister, Mr Brown, fronted the extension of free child care for two-year-olds. We inherited those two policies. In the coalition Government’s first Budget, we confirmed that the previous Government’s measures were being taken forward. Therefore, any reference to the costs in 2010 must be a reference to the legacy of the previous Labour Government.
By any logic, this coalition Government merely extended the previous Government’s policy on tax relief and free child care for two-year-olds. It is inappropriate, and a partial view of history, not to refer to the legacy inherited from the previous Government.
I welcome the proposals on tax-free child care, not least the simplicity of accessing it. One of the big problems with the previous Government’s meddling relationship with child care was that it led to complexity and a lack of application and extension.