To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate the Commission has made of the cost to the public purse of emergency childcare provision for Members and House staff.
The measure to introduce emergency childcare fills me with some nervousness. If Officers of the House or, indeed, Members need emergency support, we should be inculcating a culture of providing those Officers of the House with time off to deal with their children, rather than encouraging them to buy in childcare when that may not be the right thing to do. In addition to the costs, how many Members or members of the House staff have availed themselves of and drawn down this emergency childcare provision?
My cynicism matches the hon. Lady’s cynicism, but it is a trial. I shall write to her with the actual figures because I was not able to get them, although I was staggered to find out that the service gives parents in the House the opportunity to access 1,450 nurseries, 2,900 child minders, 1,000 holiday clubs and hundreds of nannies. As a parent, which the hon. Lady is, she will realise that sometimes everything goes wrong with childcare and, going by my experience with my children, who are now grown up, it is always at the last, disastrous minute.