Children’s Education Recovery and Childcare Costs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:44 pm on 7 June 2022.

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Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education 6:44, 7 June 2022

I thank the hon. Lady for her intervention, and I will come on in just one moment to exactly the funding we are putting into childcare. However, in total, it is £5.1 billion. On the free entitlements alone—the entitlements the hon. Lady references—it is £3.5 billion.

I know that there is more we need to do, and that is why I am working across Government to take a renewed look at the childcare system, finding ways to improve the cost and availability of childcare and early education for families across England. We do have some of the very best early years provision in the world, and I will continue to be hugely ambitious for working parents, ensuring flexibility and reducing the cost of childcare wherever we can.

A number of hon. Members across the Chamber during this debate have raised international comparators, which are of course important. So far, I have visited the Netherlands, and I will be visiting Sweden and France. I hope to visit more because it is very important that we take an evidence-based approach to this issue and look at the international comparators. [Interruption.] On day trips, I hasten to add, on the Eurostar—these are certainly not jollies. We are very much looking at the evidence and ensuring that we get it right. It is a hugely complex issue.