Mike Gapes MP has joined with Labour’s shadow children and families minister Alison McGovern MP to back the party’s radical plan to extend free childcare for three and four year olds whose parents are in work to 25 hours, helping to tackle the soaring costs of childcare that are hitting many families in Ilford South.
Since 2010, childcare costs have risen by more than 30%, while the availability of places has fallen, making it harder for many parents to go out to work and meaning that for many it simply doesn’t make financial sense. For two parents working part-time in jobs paying around the average wage, it will be Thursday of each week before their pay has covered their childcare and they can move on to meeting other household bills.
Labour’s policy, paid for by an increase in the bank levy to raise an additional £800m per year, would provide additional free childcare worth up to £1,500 for 440,000 children nationwide. All children aged 3-4 where both parents are in work, or where a single parent is in work, would be eligible for the support.
Mike Gapes MP said: “There are many parents in Ilford South who find it hard to justify returning to work financially, or if they do, will find little left in their pay packets. High childcare costs cuts their incomes, increase the risk of child poverty, grow the gender pay gap and on a national level raise welfare bills and cuts tax incomes.
“Labour’s proposals could transform the lives of many families in my constituency, giving them a choice of how and when to return to work, rather than their decision being made for them by unaffordable childcare.
Shadow children and families minister Alison McGovern MP said: “A failure to provide affordable, high-quality, flexible childcare is bad for parents, bad for kids and bad for the country. By keeping mothers and fathers out of the labour market for longer than they might wish, their earnings are reduced, their family budgets more stretched, the gender pay gap widens, welfare bills rise and tax income reduces. Lose-lose all round.”
"Labour’s plan for childcare will make work pay and boost the economy. Our affordable, achievable but radical proposal to extend free childcare will make a real difference to the lives of many thousands of hard-pressed parents.”