Northern Ireland Budget (Anticipation and Adjustments) (No. 2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:50 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Emma Little Pengelly Emma Little Pengelly Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Trade) 3:50 pm, 5th March 2019

In Northern Ireland, we have a childcare strategy called Bright Start, and a significant amount of money was allocated to each of its themes and actions. I concur with Jess Phillips that we do not have the 30 hours’ free childcare; the Department of Education in Northern Ireland was supposed to work on that. This illustrates two issues. First, we do not know what further allocations are being made under the childcare strategy. There has been no information on that thus far, and nor has there been any information about whether those allocations were bid for. Secondly, there cannot be a decision about 30 hours’ free childcare, despite all the work in the Department, because there is no Minister to take that decision. Sinn Féin are boycotting the Northern Ireland Assembly, so we cannot make the decision there. Will the Secretary of State please step up and start making those kinds of decision for Northern Ireland?