This Government understand that for many parents childcare is the main issue. That is why we will be helping parents with the cost of childcare to the tune of £6 billion a year from 2019 onwards.
Childcare and early education is vital to help children to get the best start in life, particularly in the most disadvantaged families, yet this policy does nothing to help the most disadvantaged children, and the Minister’s decision to change eligibility means that those who may benefit most will miss out on the extra 15 hours. What plan does he have to raise its quality in the early years, particularly to address the issue of disadvantaged children who will not benefit?
Disadvantaged children are at the heart of our childcare policy. This Government introduced 15 hours of childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds, and all three and four-year-olds get the first 15 hours free. As for the second 15 hours, which is a work incentive, it is logical to say that before someone gets 16 hours of childcare, given that they get 15 free, they work one additional hour. That makes total sense.