Monday, 1 August 2011

Tory led Government policies mean families face lack of play facilities & childcare provision over the holidays

As the school year ends the Tory led Government policies have meant that families will face a lack of play facilities and childcare provision over the holidays as the cuts begin to bite.

Recent research by the national childcare charity Daycare Trust has shown that 62% of local authorities in England have cut their budgets for childcare and play services since last year; and almost half are offering a decreased level of holiday childcare provision.

These cuts are attributed to cuts in grants for childcare and youth services from central Government. According to figures from the House of Commons Library, Lancashire County Council has received 24.2% less this year than it was allocated in 2010, equal to £50 per child.

The summer holidays can always present a challenge to parents, whether it’s finding extra childcare if you’re working or finding affordable activities to entertain the kids if you’re not.


The cuts Lancashire County Council have had from the Tory-led government are huge, but services like childcare and holiday activities are really important for local families, especially now family budgets are being hit, so it is crucial that they are maintained.

That is why I have written to the Council to seek an assurance that they are meeting their legal requirements to ensure that there is sufficient, affordable childcare available to everyone in Hyndburn who needs it.

Sharon Hodgson MP, Shadow Minister for Children and Families said: “Families are being hit by a triple whammy from this Tory-led government – less financial support for childcare, rising costs and less availability. There’s no wonder the Family and Parenting Institute gave them a D+ on their end-of-year report card.

"Councils across the country are being forced into a very difficult situation by average cuts of more than 22% to the money they receive from central government to help pay for these services, but it is crucial that parents are not forced out of work because they can’t find or afford appropriate childcare, and that there are positive activities and facilities for older children to do over summer."

It’s easy to talk about numbers and services, but what is important to me is how decisions taken in Whitehall, and the Town Hall, impact on the lives of families in Lancashire.

I want to take their stories and experiences to Labour Party conference to help shape our new policies, and back to Parliament to make sure Ministers know exactly what effects their misguided policies are having in my constituency.”

Anybody who would like to share their experiences over the summer holidays, should contact me on at graham.jones.mp@parliament.uk

Notes

1. Daycare Trust is the national childcare charity, campaigning for quality affordable accessible childcare for all and raising the voices of children, parents and carers. The report referred to above is the Holiday childcare costs survey 2011, published 12 July 2011.
2. The Government has removed the ringfence for Sure Start and childcare funding for local authorities and wrapped it into a new “early intervention grant” (EIG). The EIG also includes other schemes, such as providing positive activities for young people.
3. The Government has taken the total value of these grants and slashed it by 22.4% in real terms. The House of Commons Library found that, on average across England, there will be funding cuts of £50 per child.
4. In April 2011 the Government cut the percentage of childcare costs that parents could claim through the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit from 80% to 70%. Research by the Resolution Foundation has found that the 470,000 families who claim the support stand to lose on average £436 a year as a result (Resolution Foundation, press release, 29 December 2010, http://resolutionfoundation.org/media/media/downloads/PR_Child_care_costs.pdf )
5. The Family and Parenting Institute published their Family Friendly Report Card 2011 on July 13 2011 – more information here: http://goo.gl/TnhhH