Emma joined Labour’s Shadow Children and Families Minister Alison McGovern MP in support of Labour’s pledge to expand free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 25 hours a week, up from 15 hours today. Over 1,000 children in South Shields would qualify under Labour’s plans.
Labour also announced this week that under Ed Miliband paternity leave would be doubled from two to four weeks, to give families more flexibility in how they handle their childcare arrangements.
The Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, meanwhile pledged that the number of places in Sure Start children’s centres would double to more than 118,000 under Labour. Sure Start centres were introduced by the previous Labour government, but hundreds have closed under David Cameron.
The cost of childcare has gone up under the Coalition, with the cost of nursery places rising five times faster than wages.
“Families in Shields tell me that one of the hardest things about being a working parent is the demands of juggling work and childcare. Parents need flexibility, and that’s why Labour wants to expand free childcare to 25 hours a week and double paternity leave.
“Labour’s offer will make it easier for parents to stay in work and provide for their families. 1,000 children in Shields alone would benefit from expanded childcare – that’s hundreds of households who can expand their hours, rejoin the job market, or just save a little bit more each month. That will make a real difference for families in our area.”