Tag Archives: childcare

2 April 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Government childcare announcement: More Conservative chaos hurting families
  • Only 0.1% of police dedicated to rural crime teams

Government childcare announcement: More Conservative chaos hurting families

Responding to the Government’s childcare announcment, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

This latest Conservative chaos is hitting families hard. Parents are seriously worried about what the Government’s botched childcare expansion will mean for them.

Free hours are no good if parents can’t find a good nursery or childminder for their child – and thanks to Conservative underfunding, more than 3,000 providers have closed in the last year alone.

Instead of plunging families into even more chaos, the Government should take up the Liberal Democrats’ clear and properly-funded plan to ensure all parents can access childcare that is flexible, affordable and fair.

Only 0.1% of police dedicated to rural crime teams

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative government of “neglecting” rural communities as new data reveals that only 258 police officers and staff are dedicated to rural crime teams across England and Wales – just 0.1% of the overall workforce. It means fewer than one in 1,000 police officers around the country are dedicated to rural crime teams.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey will today call for Police and Crime Commissioners to be scrapped so the savings can be invested in frontline policing, including ensuring that every police force has a properly resourced rural crime team. It is estimated the move would save £150 million every four years.

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20 March 2024 – the overnight press releases

  • Chamberlain to lead debate on electoral fairness and calls out attempts to “rig the rules”
  • PAC report on Social Care: Too many vulnerable people struggling to get the care they need
  • McArthur sets out response to embargoed climate report
  • Rennie comments on new claims from Pregnant Then Screwed

Chamberlain to lead debate on electoral fairness and calls out attempts to “rig the rules”

Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain MP will lead a debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday about strengthening electoral fairness and preventing parties from “rigging the rules,” following recent moves by the Conservative Party to introduce certain changes ahead of the upcoming General Election.

The debate will take place in Westminster Hall tomorrow (Wednesday) and is expected to begin at 11am. Ms Chamberlain will pick up on a variety of changes recently introduced by the Conservatives, including compulsory Voter ID requirements and almost doubling the spending limit for UK elections to around £35 million.

In November, the UK election watchdog, the Electoral Commission, said it had “not seen evidence” to support changes to spending limits.

Ms Chamberlain’s debate comes just one week after her party called for the Conservatives to return donations from Frank Hester, a Tory party donor who reportedly said that the MP Diane Abbott made him “want to hate all black women.”

Speaking ahead of the debate, Ms Chamberlain said:

I am concerned that some of the latest moves by this Conservative Government represent a desperate and dirty attempt to rig the rules in their favour because they know they’ve lost the support of the public.

Last year, thousands of people were denied at a voice at the local elections because of the Voter ID rules ushered in by the Tories. Hundreds of thousands of people now risk being turned away at the next election at a cost to the taxpayer of £120,000,000 over the next decade.

Their unjustified doubling of the national spending limits points to the Conservatives Party’s eagerness to design the system and play it to their advantage. We also know from the Frank Hester scandal that they will excuse the inexcusable if it means bringing in big money and clinging onto power.

Liberal Democrats have been and continue to be long-standing advocates for fairness, transparency and electoral reform. I want to show that our politics should not be tilted towards those with the deepest pockets, and that we need constructive discussions about how to make the system better and work in the interests of all.

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12 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”
  • 1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023
  • Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for more support for childcare sector in Wales
  • Care leavers shouldn’t be forced to “bear burden of proof” when it comes to accessing housing support
  • Blackie calls on Susan Hall to disown racist Frank Hester remarks

Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”

Responding to Graham Stuarts’ comments this morning on Times Radio where he refused to say Frank Hester’s alleged comments were racist and refused to say the money should be returned, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Graham Stuart’s refusal to call out these racist comments was simply jaw-dropping.

The Conservative Party has flat out refused to return these donations despite these comments being inexcusable. How low can you go?

Rishi Sunak can bunker down and hide in Downing Street as long as he wants but every day he doesn’t return this money is another damning blow to the Conservative Party’s credibility.

1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023

Responding to new Police Scotland figures showing that there were 1,197 suspected drug deaths between January and December 2023, which is a 10% increase compared to 2022, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

When 100 people a month are dying in Scotland’s drugs deaths emergency, we need to be open to anything that will save them. Each represents a life cut short and a family torn apart by grief.

These numbers are already going in the wrong direction and with the SNP and Greens having pushed through a budget that delivers a real-terms cut to drug services, I am extremely concerned that problems will simply get worse.

Every tool at our disposal needs to be used to reduce harm and save lives. That includes protecting the drug and alcohol budget, integrated drug checking facilities and preparing now for a network of safe consumption rooms because help can’t just be limited to Glasgow.

Well-meaning words won’t stop people dying. Humza Yousaf and his government must deliver swift change and ensure they never take their eye off the ball again.

Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today urged the Scottish Government to compile a complete list of buildings where the dangerous bubbly concrete known as RAAC is present, as a minister conceded that the presence of the material could present safety implications for firefighters responding to incidents.

In response to a parliamentary question from Mr Cole-Hamilton, community safety minister Siobhian Brown admitting that “Where the material is in poor condition there could be greater risk of weakness or collapse”.

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11 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Lee Anderson: PM cannot govern his own party let alone the country
  • David Neal: Home Office in a state of disrepair
  • Frank Hester: Sunak must return donations and rule out peerage
  • “Early childcare the key to fighting poverty” – Welsh Lib Dems push for fully integrated childcare system in Wales

Lee Anderson: PM cannot govern his own party let alone the country

Responding to reports that Lee Anderson will defect from the Conservatives to Reform, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

Rishi Sunak’s authority lies in tatters after the man he personally appointed to be Deputy Chairman of the Conservatives has defected to another party. This is a Prime Minister that cannot govern his own party let alone the country.

Even now Sunak is too weak to rule out Nigel Farage joining the Conservative Party. It just shows that there is now hardly a cigarette paper between the Conservative Party and Reform.

David Neal: Home Office in a state of disrepair

Responding to the comments made by the former Independent Borders Inspector David Neal to the BBC, the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

These comments confirm what we already suspected – the Home Office is in a state of total dysfunction and disrepair.

Nothing is working how it should. Now, we don’t even have a Chief Inspector to provide the scrutiny that is so desperately needed.

To think that this Conservative Government can push forward with their failing Rwanda policy while ducking accountability is disgraceful. The Home Office cannot just withhold reports and information that they don’t like.

At the very least, its implementation should be delayed until the Government can get its act together and appoint a Chief Inspector.

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9 January 2024 – today’s Welsh press releases

  • “No more tinkering, we need bravery”- Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds sets out her priorities for new FM
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge for clarity over future of Bwndel Babi scheme
  • Welsh Lib Dems criticise Welsh Labour government over “lack of vision” with budget
  • “Communities must feel that they are being listened to when it comes to their safety”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government

“No more tinkering, we need bravery”- Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds sets out her priorities for new FM

Today, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds has urged both Welsh Labour leadership candidates to set out a new vision for Wales.

Current Health minister Vaughan Gething and Education minister Jeremy Miles are both in the race to become the new FM following the resignation of Mark Drakeford.

Commenting, leader of the Welsh Lib Dems Jane Dodds said:

The start of a new year brings with it a chance for renewed optimism. And with a new First Minister set to take charge this coming spring, a chance for a fresh approach to how Wales is being run should in theory be just around the corner.

What we have heard from both candidates so far is that they will be taking the same “steady as she goes” approach. More tinkering, more managerialism, and not the vision for the future that people desperately need.

We don’t want to see any more conservatism from Welsh Labour, what we need is a First Minister who is willing to take a bold and brave new direction for our country.

We need a new vision for a thriving economy, a fresh start for our NHS, an innovative democracy, and creating a nation of second chances where everyone has the opportunity to get ahead. We need a fair deal for every corner and every person across our country.

For far too long now the Labour party have stood by and watched as our country, our government, and our parliament has been dragged into the mud by an indifferent UK Conservative government.

We need a Labour party, at both ends of the M4, willing to stand up and demand that Wales gets its fair share.

No more tinkering about and searching for excuses, now is the time for bravery.

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Why we need childcare from birth to nursery age

One of the best speeches at Scottish Conference yesterday was made by 12 year old Noah.

He was introducing his “mini motion” which proposed that childcare should be available universally for all children from birth to when they start nursery.

Mini motions are an innovation of the Scottish Conference Committee. They aim to make the policy process less intimidating for members. Rather than produce a traditional motion, they sum up their idea in a couple of hundred words. They then introduce it with a 3 minute speech and members then respond with 1 minute interventions. An indicative vote is then taken on whether this should be pursued further by Policy Committee and brought back to Conference at a later date.

Noah’s motion read:

I propose free childcare for all kids from birth to nursery age. This lets parents get back to jobs without huge childcare bills. No parent should have to pick between a job and high childcare costs. This helps families avoid money troubles and supports everyone in working.

His proposing speech, reproduced with his and his parents’ permission is here.

He got a standing ovation for it.

I am proposing this very important motion and one that is very important to me, and many children and families throughout the UK. This is free childcare for children from birth to nursery age in Scotland.

This will mean that families do not have huge costs to go back to work or be forced out of work altogether through the huge costs of childcare.

I think that no parent in Scotland should be forced between continuing their careers, particularly mums who are being held back from continuing careers or faced with the choice. This also affects families with just a mum and can I am told put them in poverty.

I believe that this will stop families from having no money just to work and help talented people stay in work if they choose. It is good for families and good for the Scottish economy.

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Our party needs to take childcare seriously – and the tax to pay for it

In 2021 childcare took 30% of the average UK wage compared with Finland (18%), Netherlands (17%) Canada (16%) and Denmark (9%). Overall it is clear that the UK lags far behind most other developed countries.

At the same time, the UK continues to have the second-highest rate of social inequality in the G7, behind only the US, according to statistics published by the OECD.

Our inequality is fuelled by educational disadvantage.

Last week  a survey of primary school teachers said that nearly half of their new entrants weren’t toilet trained, could not give their name and couldn’t eat by themselves. Nearly half!

How can teachers teach properly while they are having to change nappies, teach children how to talk, and feed them by hand?

Early years’ education is hugely important. A child without basic skills at the age of 5 is likely to continue to lag behind all through their school career. What’s more, when they become parents in their turn, their children are likely to lack skills as well.

Levelling up won’t happen unless we educate our children properly. Professional childcare is vital to help our children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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Coram Childcare Survey: Time to invest properly in our children’s future

In response to the Coram Family and Childcare annual survey which showed an increase of 5.6% in part-time childcare costs and 7% fewer local areas reporting sufficient childcare places for children under two, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The huge increase in costs of childcare is hitting cash-strapped young families who are already facing a cost of living crisis.

The UK already has some of the highest childcare costs in the world. Parents up and down the country are struggling to afford their nursery fees, while for others the crippling costs of childcare mean they simply can’t afford to

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11-12 February 2023 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Childcare: Conservatives have turned their backs on families
  • Sharpe report: Boris Johnson must now also face the music to answer questions

Childcare: Conservatives have turned their backs on families

Responding to reports that the Treasury is considering expanding its free childcare offer, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

Parents should never be forced out of work by a lack of affordable childcare. If the Treasury wants to help more parents back to work, it should simply implement the Liberal Democrat plan for childcare that is flexible, affordable and fair.

Crucially, that must include raising the rates paid to providers match the actual

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How Liz Truss emulated Margaret Thatcher as an Education Minister

David Laws’ Coalition memoirs tell  how Liz Truss’s stubbornness as a  junior minister became part of the Tory-Lib Dem mudslinging fest by Michael Gove

I would like to point especially new Lib Dem members to the memoirs of David Laws on his experiences at the heart of the 2010-2015 Tory-Lib Dem Coalition government. Laws  tells us about Liz’s first steps as a junior Education minister, and her characteristics and policymaking attitudes  which shone through.

On Saturday, Andy Boddington reported on a Times article in which Neil Fawcett, now a Federal Board member and  Oxfordshire County councillor, said that Liz in her LDYS days was on the radical wing of our party, promoting both abolishing the monarchy and legalising cannabis. On that last point she made the first of a whole series of Damascene conversions  after joining the Tories in 1996.  During her 2001 Hemsworth parliamentary campaign she said that she now opposed it.

From 1998-2010 she was active in Tory local politics in Greater London and Greenwich, before entering parliament in 2010 from David Cameron’s A-list. So she knew about local politics, in which Education and Childcare (at least in  Dutch local politics) are always a big issue. For all Social Liberals, good childcare and good education from the earliest stages has been a major issue for the past 140 years.

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Scottish Lib Dem social justice spokesperson Bruce Wilson highlights childcare problems

Former marine Bruce Wilson is the Scottish Lib Dems spokesperson for veterans and social justice. In this week’s Daily Record he wrote about the need for high quality childcare as a key element of a fairer society.

As the father of three children under 7, he and his wife know only too well the crippling costs of childcare:

While my eldest is in school and goes to after school club, there is no way for me and my wife to afford mortgage payments, bills and childcare for our twins, despite having decent salaries.

Nursery costs to cover full time work come to roughly £2,000 per month for both of them – a sum that is completely unachievable for most parents. Parents are often forced to leave the workforce.

And  it is most often women whose careers are adversely affected:

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25 November 2019 – the day’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Tory childcare provision just £1 per child
  • Lib Dems: We can stop Johnson ramming through a Queen’s Speech and destructive Brexit
  • Lib Dems: Home office to profit £4 million from nurse tax
  • Lib Dems: Ivan Rogers exposes Johnson’s Brexit plan as a sham

Lib Dems: Tory childcare provision just £1 per child

The Conservative Party have set out in their manifesto that if elected, they would spend £250 million a year on expanding childcare provision for primary school children after school and in the school holidays.

However, the latest Government estimate is that there are 4,727,090 pupils in state-funded primary school meaning that …

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Boost free childcare to build a brighter future

The Liberal Democrats will today (09/11/19) announce bold plans to introduce free childcare from 9 months, transforming the lives of parents and children across the UK.

Today’s high cost of childcare means that too many parents are unable to return to work without risking real financial hardship. With the average cost of 25 hours nursery care for a child under two running to more than £6500 per year, many parents are effectively excluded from work due to the burden of childcare costs.

A Liberal Democrat government will build a fairer economy by providing free, high-quality childcare for every child aged two to …

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LibLink: Layla Moran “You can’t silence me now”

Following the dreadful way she was treated by Tory MPs at PMQs on Wednesday, Layla Moran has written for the Independent in some detail about the Tories’ failures on free childcare which led to her question to Theresa May.

She outlined the basic facts:

The news that parents would get 30 hours a week of free childcare for all three and four year olds came as a relief, as it offered the chance for women to return to work, as a structured and cost-friendly option was being put on the table for them.

This was an extension of policies the Liberal Democrats pushed in the Coalition government and is one of the answers to closing the gender pay gap, as well as allowing parents a real choice about how they want to bring up their families.

But – and it is a big but – it turns out that this childcare isn’t free after all. It all seemed like a great idea until the Government realised they were actually going to have to pay for it.

Quite simply, the Government aren’t giving child minders and nurseries enough money to actually deliver these places for three and four year olds, and make a living at the same time.

The consequences are hurting parents with either no provision being offered or:

Stories I have heard include child minders and nurseries having to increase the cost of childcare for under-threes in order to make up the shortfall. Many more have started charging parents for extras like nappies, baby wipes, lunches and early/late pick-ups that had previously been included.

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Bold and ambitious childcare plans on offer from Lib Dems in London and Wales

The cost and availability of childcare is one of the most important things affecting working parents these days. This week, Liberal Democrats in London and Wales have launched plans to improve affordability and choices.

In London, Caroline Pidgeon has said it’s time to “end the brain drain of talented young women from London’s workforce.” Her plan includes:

  • The GLA and other organisations in the wider GLA Group (TfL, Metropolitan Police Service and London Fire Service) should offer interest free loans for employees to meet the initial costs of childcare registration at a nursery which can cost up to £1500. The adoption of this policy should become an example of good practice amongst businesses across London.
  • When GLA land is released for schools it should be standard practice that nursery provision is also provided
  • London Boroughs should be encouraged to extend business rate relief to childcare providers
  • The Mayor of London should establish a Childcare Fund with support targeted at improving wraparound and childcare options covering the longer hours many London employees have to work. One potential way of financing the fund would be through a hotel levy.
  • More childminders should be trained to help support families with wraparound flexible childcare.

Caroline said:

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Baroness Kath Pinnock writes…Flexible childcare: Another Lib Dem victory

Who is going to look after the children?

One of the biggest worries for working parents is finding high quality and affordable childcare. It is also one of the biggest barriers, especially for women, to getting back into work.

So, when the chance came to ease those worries by improving what childcare the Government were offering, we grabbed it.

Liberal Democrats, of course, recognise that childcare is a critical issue for parents of pre-school children and successfully introduced childcare for two year olds from disadvantaged families. An increase in hours available for all 3 and 4 year olds was in our Manifesto. So we were in broad agreement with the Government Bill to increase the free childcare offer to 30 hours per week during school times.

Throughout the Bill we argued that this was a great opportunity to extend the free hours to school holidays and outside the normal school day. Parents and providers told us that the school holidays often turned out to be a nightmare to organise and could cost a small fortune. Parents who worked non-standard hours in a great variety of jobs such as nursing, cleaning, social care, and catering told us that they ended up paying for childcare when parents who worked during the school day were able to have free childcare.

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LibLink: Kath Pinnock: Lib Dems have stood up for the needs of very young children

You can sense Kath Pinnock’s frustration about the Government’s Childcare Bill as she outlines how she and the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords tried to force the Government to add some detail into the proposals in an article for Politics Home. It was pretty basic stuff that needed fleshing out as well – like the level of funding available for councils to provide 15 hours of childcare a week. Quality and training standards weren’t outlined – and nor was there even a definition of who was eligible.

Liberal Democrats tabled several amendments to deal with these issues at both Committee stage when debate takes place on the details and at Report stage when the Government is held to account if it hasn’t listened to concerns and made changes. Time and again during detailed debate we challenged the Government Minister to declare the level of funding that would be available. Every time we were told to wait for the announcement from the Chancellor in his funding review in November. And every time, we responded that this was not good enough. We have a responsibility to very young children to make sure there was enough funding for quality childcare. We pushed that to the vote and, with Labour Peers, the Government was defeated.

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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 …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 2 Comments
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  • Chris Moore
    I have to wonder if sone of you have ever actually visited a "leafy" Blue Wall seat? Btw what is this nonsense about "leaves"? I think you'll find there are ...
  • Chris Moore
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  • Yeovil Yokel
    Peter - firstly, I echo what Anthony says about large parts of the West Country; I believe Cornwall and Somerset are amongst the poorest counties in southern En...
  • Anthony Acton
    Peter - have you ever been to Yeovil, Bridgwater, Honiton, Chard, Bodmin etc etc - the West Country may be leafy but it's not affluent. There must be a dozen ta...
  • JohnMc
    I think the national service nonsense is the wordy idea since Brexit, not least because of the chaos it will cause 18 year olds who are maybe also trying to stu...