To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of the findings of research by the London School of Economics and Political Science and the universities of Manchester and York entitled the Coalition's Social Policy Record: Policy, Spending and Outcomes 2010-2015 relating to families with children under five years of age.
We look with interest at all relevant research.
This Government has taken a range of actions to help improve the prospects of families with children, including those under five years of age.
Work is the best route out of poverty – and under this Government employment has increased by more than 1.75 million. Further, this Government’s reforms to the welfare system through Universal Credit will lift up to 300,000 children out of poverty and increase the rate of childcare support from 70% to 85%. The Government has also introduced Tax-Free Childcare, which will provide 20% support for childcare costs up to £10,000 per year for each child and increased the child element of Child Tax Credits so that it remains higher than if it had been uprated by the consumer price index (CPI) in each year of this Parliament.
There is strong evidence that good quality early years education has a positive, lasting impact on children. That is why in England we have made a substantial investment at a time of fiscal tightening – £2.9 billion in 2014-15 to provide 15 hours of early years education a week for all three- and four-year-olds, and to 40% of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds. Additionally, from April 2015 we will introduce an early years pupil premium for three- and four-year-olds which will provide additional funded support to the most disadvantaged children.