Tag Archives: childcare

LibLink: Jo Swinson: Shared Parental Leave is an important step to the wider cultural change that they need

Jo Swinson has been writing for the Huffington Post about what the Liberal Democrats have done on child care and parental leave.

 Liberal Democrats in the coalition government have taken important steps to support parents with childcare costs despite the challenging economic situation. We extended free early years education to 15 hours a week for three and four year olds, and introduced 15 free hours for four in 10 two-year-olds – those from the most hard-pressed homes. We are also introducing Tax Free Childcare to save working families up to £2,000 per child per year from September.

But there’s more to come. Not only a tripling of paternity leave, but extra help with childcare costs.

We also want to extend free early years education to all two year olds. We know that pressure to budget for childcare costs doesn’t just start when a child is two years old, and that the costs can prevent parents from returning to work. We are committed to bridging that gap so that free childcare is available for working parents from the end of paid parental leave. On average, this will save working parents the equivalent of £2,670 a year.

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Joan Walmsley writes … Disadvantaged children should be prioritised in the Early Years, says House of Lords Committee

Childcare Centre

Liberal Democrats have done a great deal in Government to provide more and better early education and childcare. From increasing the free entitlement for three and four year olds and extending it to disadvantaged two year olds to introducing the Early Years Pupil Premium and helping parents with the costs through tax relief, this government has been on the side of young children and their families.

Two things have happened relating to childcare in the last two weeks. Nick Clegg has made some commitments about what Liberal Democrats would fight for …

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Nick Clegg on the Liberal Democrats’ vision for a world class early years education system

Nick Clegg has made a major speech on early years education and  child care to the Pre-School Learning Alliance. He pointed out that as a result of Liberal Democrat input, an extra £1 billion has been put into child-care in this Parliament and that only the Liberal Democrats would protect that level of spending in the next Parliament. In contrast, the Conservatives would cut it, at a cost of £625 per child. Not only that, but welfare cuts would affect low income families.

Here are the main points of his speech:

Over the last five years, we’ve made it one of our biggest priorities in this Government to ensure that every child – whatever their background or circumstances – gets an equal shot at the successful future they deserve.

Disadvantaged background start to bite early:

 So much so that, if you’re a child born into a poor family in this country, you will already have fallen behind a child with richer parents by the time you’re 2 years old.

That’s before you step anywhere near a classroom and it has absolutely nothing to do with your talent or potential – just the circumstances of your birth. Without focused action to change it, that gap between you and your peers will continue to get bigger as you grow up. So that when you turn up, proudly wearing your new uniform, for your first day of school, you will be well over a year behind your better-off classmates. Morally and economically, we simply cannot afford for so many children to have their future written off like that in this country.

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Nick’s Netmums Q & A on childcare

imageOver at Netmums, Nick Clegg has been answering questions about the new tax free childcare system announced yesterday. He explains the three elements, including the extra help for families on the lowest incomes:

Firstly, if you’re a working family with children under 12, which doesn’t receive tax credits, Universal Credit or Employer Supported Childcare, but both parents are working or you’re a lone working parent, the government will provide 20% of your child care costs up to £10,000 a year.

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Jenny Willott writes… How Lib Dems are giving families choice through shared parental leave and flexible working

Parents and child - Some rights reserved by Ed YourtonAs a mother with two small children myself, I know how hard it can be to balance work and family life. And as a Lib Dem, I firmly believe in equal opportunities for all and tackling discrimination, whatever form it takes.

So I am really excited that with Lib Dems in Government, we are shaking up the status quo to make it easier for parents with young children to arrange their work/life balance however best suits them.

We need to challenge the old-fashioned …

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Jenny Willott on free childcare from 12 months

jenny willottJenny Willott is the Minister for Women, covering for Jo Swinson while she is on maternity leave. In an interview with the Independent on Sunday she said that extending childcare to babies would be expensive but “it may well be that it’s the right thing to do”.

The article points out that there is a “maternity gap” between the end of maternity leave and the point when free childcare kicks in for three year olds. In response Jenny said:

It may well be that that’s something the Government needs to look at. The issue is that it is extremely expensive. It may well be that it’s the right thing to do. But it’s as with every big public spending commitment, it’s a toss-up between if you’ve got the money is that the best thing to put it into or is something else the best thing to put it into.

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

 Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore writes a regular column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Free Childcare

My colleagues in the Scottish Parliament have been making the case for extending child care provision in Scotland for some time. So the fact that from August 2014 thousands of two-year-olds in Scotland will be entitled a free childcare place for 15 hours a week is excellent news for families across the Borders.

This means that we now catch up with the situation in England where the Liberal Democrats have helped to deliver a similar plan for two years now. The …

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Willie Rennie: “In 20 years, they’ll be glad they had nursery education at an early stage because it might just change their life chances”

There were extraordinary scenes in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon. First of all, the Scottish Liberal Democrats didn’t even vote for their amendment, and nor did anyone else. They didn’t have to, because the Scottish Government had taken a big step to doing what they wanted.

For months, Willie Rennie has got up at virtually every First Minister’s Questions session and doggedly asked, pleaded, cajoled with Salmond to extend nursery places to 40% of 2 year olds from its current figure of 3%, just like Nick Clegg had done south of the Border.  And every time, Alex Salmond replied with varying …

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Opinion: A liberal approach to affordable childcare

Childcare CentreChildcare in the UK is expensive.

In 2011 the OECD reported the UK having the second highest costs of childcare for any OECD country in terms of average family incomes. According to the Daycare Trust, full-time nursery care costs parents an £11,000 per year on average and around £4,000 for care for two school-age children around the start and end of the school day.

Many parents have to choose between leaving work to care for their kids, sacrificing much needed income or continuing in work and struggling with the costs of childcare. If they’re lucky their household earnings are enough that either option doesn’t cause any considerable hardship.

But it’s not the cost of childcare that’s the problem – it’s the way we pay for it.

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: And now for something else… Childcare, Lobbying and HS2

Last week, Syria dominated. This week Nick Clegg uses his Leader’s letter to promote a just-announced initiative – 15 hours’ free nursery care to children from the poorest families – and defend another two currently under attack: the Transparency and Lobbying bill and HS2. On lobbying, he dismisses as ‘nonsense’ the idea the Government was ever wanting to gag charities and says the Coalition will accept amendments that make this crystal clear. While on HS2 he argues it is vital to increase capacity, and adds it’s just one of many improvements planned to the railways.

libdem letter from nick clegg

A few weeks ago I asked you to let me know what you wanted me to cover in this letter and one message came back more clearly than any other: anything and everything! The winning choice, by far, was “something else” – with suggestions from bees to tax avoidance.

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Independent says “Lib Dems go beyond meaning well”

Today’s Independent editorial has some heartening words about the approach of Liberal Democrats within the Government and our ongoing policy making process.

The background to the motion on childcare is explored:

Hence the party’s plan to extend free childcare to all one- and two-year-olds, which we report on today, is no well-meaning wishlist, but a battle-hardened piece of legislation-ready policy.

The plan emerges from the struggle between the coalition partners over the last spending round, which was announced by George Osborne, the Chancellor, in June. Nick Clegg pushed for a better childcare deal, but eventually had to concede that NHS, schools and

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David Laws writes… Tackling disadvantage must start before school

When money is tight, where a party chooses to spend says something important about that party’s values.

So today is an important day for Liberal Democrats – as Nick Clegg launches our £760m investment to provide a free early years education for every disadvantaged two year old.

From today, for the first time ever, 130,000 two year olds from the poorest homes become eligible for a free place with a nursery or childminder. And we have announced that, from next year, this same offer will be extended to families earning less than £16,000, adopted children and those with special …

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The Independent View: Early years reform – should Clegg take another stand?

childcareWith a childcare announcement expected imminently, early years is shaping up to be both a key battleground for the next election and a major coalition split. All agree on wanting to bring down prices for parents, while driving the quality and accessibility of childcare. So far so good. But since More Great Childcare was published at the start of the year, proposals have courted criticism, with experts questioning whether this reform package would actually jeopardise quality and push up costs.

In a high profile move last month, Nick Clegg stepped in …

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Danny Alexander MP writes… Spending where it matters

Our number one priority in Government has been to fix the economic mess we inherited from Labour. Today, we set out a Spending Round that delivers Liberal Democrat priorities on investment and improving our public services while making responsible choices to deal with the financial problems Labour left us. It demonstrates that the Liberal Democrats will remain firm in our commitment to tackling the deficit, but fair in the way we go about it.

When we entered Government in May 2010, we inherited from Labour an economy that was on the brink. We set out a plan to get our economy …

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Clegg says no to childcare ratio changes. My question is: why’s it the Government’s job to dictate them?

teather_cleggNick Clegg’s statement is categorical — the Coalition is abandoning plans to allow nurseries and childminders in England to look after more children. Revealed in January by Conservative children’s minister Liz Truss, the idea that the ratio for under 2s, for example, could increase from 1:4 to 1:6 was always going to be controversial. Here’s Nick:

“One of my absolute top priorities in government is to deliver better quality, more affordable childcare for parents up and down the country. I will relentlessly champion and pursue policies that deliver that –

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Salmond promises childcare revolution after turning down Rennie’s plans for nursery education

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond  gave his keynote speech to SNP Conference this afternoon. There were three things in it that struck me as a Liberal Democrat.

A numbers game

Apparently a “yes” vote for independence would be a vote for a “prosperous economy and a just society.” Does this remind you of any phrase being used rather a lot at the moment by any Liberal Democrat who can be persuaded to do so? I wonder how prosperous an economy built on wildly optimistic estimates of oil revenues would be to start with.

Many nationalists have been complaining about their fixed budget doesn’t …

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “Ignore the papers, here’s the real truth about the Coalition’s plans for childcare”

The latest letter from Nick Clegg to party supporters takes us behind the scenes of the Coalition’s negotiations over how best to help families with the cost of childcare. He dismisses newspaper gossip of splits in the ‘Quad’ as “total nonsense”, before setting out the principles that have guided their decision-making — focusing help on low- and middle-income families, and especially those with kids under 3 who don’t qualify for the current free 15 hours’ early education provision. Here’s Nick’s letter in full…

libdem letter from nick clegg

You’ll often hear politicians say,

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Does mislaying your child really make you a bad parent?

As soon as Eric Pickles announced his ‘Back to Basics’ crackdown on ‘troubled’ families, it was odds on that a Conservative minister would oblige by executing his own family faux pas. How many would have placed their bets in the culprit being the Prime Minister himself, who with model mum Samantha appears to have chillaxed a little too much after Sunday lunch at the pub, leaving their daughter Nancy in the Ladies.

The uncomfortable end to Nancy’s comfort break apparently happened ‘a couple of months ago’, according to a Downing Street spokesman, but conveniently surfaced in the press as soon as …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarBolano 9th Oct - 11:36pm
    @David Evans What is being discussed here isn't representative democracy. If we follow Matthew Huntbach's reasoning, a smaller share of the vote for both the...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 9th Oct - 10:39pm
    @ Matthew Huntbach - I too am sorry, but it is sad to hear a good Lib Dem like yourself describe a rationally argued point...
  • User AvatarPhyllis 9th Oct - 10:17pm
    Richard Underhill Cameron, Osborne and Gove are great mates. Gove and May loathe each other. So May gets the cold shoulder. Yes sometimes things are...
  • User AvatarPhyllis 9th Oct - 10:13pm
    The irony of a (seemingly) all-male panel of contributors taking over this thread, started by a Lib Dem woman, about the role of women in...
  • User AvatarDavid Wallace 9th Oct - 8:54pm
    Might donate tomorrow. I admire his balls (pardon the pun). Well done Stephen!
  • User AvatarDavid Morrison 9th Oct - 8:49pm
    I remain to be convinced of the alleged benefits of education campaigns in this regard. If some people are genuinely ignorant of the harm to...