Saturday, 23 November 2013

The cost of living crisis is hitting working families – they need real help with the cost of childcare

With Shadow Minister Lucy Powell
I’ve spoken to mums and dads in Haslingden and Hyndburn and they’ve told me how tough they are finding things at the moment. Fuel and food prices are on the rise and wages aren’t keeping up with inflation. David Cameron’s cost of living crisis is bad news for local people.

One of the biggest problems that parents talk to me about is the cost of childcare. 

I have a four year old daughter myself and the cost of childcare just mounts up. Nursery costs then breakfast and after school clubs, clothes, books, lunches, sponsored events, fund raisers, birthday parties, christmas and birthday's, hours and days lost at work when your child is ill, ... the list just goes on.

Government policies are not helping. Local parents are facing a triple whammy childcare crisis of this Government’s making: prices are rising with costs up 6% this year, double the rate of inflation; places are plummeting and there are fewer Sure Starts despite David Cameron’s pre-election promise to protect children’s centres; and support for parents has been cut with some parents getting £1500 less help with childcare support through working tax credits and the child element of the working tax credit.

After school support
Parents with primary school children face particular problems when arranging before and after school care to fit in with work - 62% of parents of school-age children say that they need some form of before and after school care but of these, nearly three in ten are unable to find it. That’s why I’m pleased Labour has promised to introduce a primary childcare guarantee that parents can access wrap around (8-6pm) care at their local school or nearby if they want it.

Nursery support
Labour will also expand free childcare from 15 hours to 25 hours for three and four year olds, providing real help for families with both parents in work. This additional childcare support will be paid for by increasing the bank levy rate to raise an extra £800 million, making a difference of up to £1500 per child that will help mums, and it still is mainly mums, get back to work if they want to.

Cameron’s childcare crisis is forcing parents, mainly mothers, out of the workplace and making it increasingly difficult for families to balance their budgets. I know that local mums and dads need support to cope with the cost of childcare which is why I’m proud that Labour is tackling the childcare crisis.

We’ll be consulting with parents, providers and business to get this right. That’s why I’m asking local parents to share their experience of childcare on my childcare survey – please contact my office at 

Graham Jones MP
50 Abbey Street, 
Telephone 01254 382283

if you’ve got particular ideas about what support local parents need. You can also tweet your support for Labour’s childcare campaign at #cameronschildcarecrisis