Mother’s day is the day we say thank you to our mums for everything they do. Talking to mums in Harlow I know that now more than ever mums need a break. When the cost of everything from energy bills to childcare keeps going up and up while wages stay the same, suddenly mums are facing difficult decisions to make ends meet.
One of the biggest problems that parents talk to me about is the cost of childcare. Parents locally are facing a triple whammy childcare crisis of this Government’s making. Prices are up 30% since the election. Places are plummeting and there are fewer Sure Starts despite David Cameron’s pre-election promise to protect children’s centres. Support for parents has also been cut with some parents getting £1500 less help with childcare support through working tax credits. This is having a real impact on the ability of mums to go out to work and for work to pay.
Yet mums calling out for help with childcare now will have got little comfort from the budget. Whilst new support through tax free childcare is a good start, families struggling now won’t see any benefit until after the election. David Cameron and Nick Clegg haven’t spent a single penny to improve the support the vast majority of families struggling with the cost of childcare since they got into power, in fact they’ve removed support to the tune of £1500 per family.
Labour understands the huge pressure families are under at the moment with childcare. That’s why we’d go further. On top of Tax Free Childcare we’ll extend free childcare for working families with three and four year olds by an extra ten hours, to 25 hours a week, 38 weeks a year. This will mean that for the first time a second earner will be able to work part time without having to worry about paying for childcare. This increase in childcare support is worth £1500 per child and will help mums to get back to work or work the hours they want. The 15 hour early years entitlement will remain universal for all parents and the additional support means families would be even better off under Labour.
And we’ll introduce a guarantee in law to ensure every parent has access to before and after school care through Primary schools because we know how hard it is juggling working hours with school hours.
Today is a day to remind mums how grateful we are for the work they do but mums need a break every day not just today. Labour understands the pressures mums face at the moment. That’s why we will invest in childcare help, and make childcare work for working mums!