Labour commits to maintaining Tories’ free childcare growth plans | Politics Information

In a letter to Gillian Keegan on Tuesday, shadow training secretary Bridget Phillipson described the suggestion that Labour wouldn’t keep on with the free scheme as “an outright lie”.

By Faye Brown, Political reporter @fayebrownSky

Labour has dedicated to maintaining the federal government’s free little one growth if it wins the final election – describing the Tories’ suggestion in any other case as an “outright lie”.

In a letter to Training Secretary Gillian Keegan, shadow minister Bridget Phillipson mentioned her get together “won’t be eradicating any entitlements provided to households now or these promised to them sooner or later”.

“Your suggestion on the contrary is an outright lie – and the general public won’t consider a phrase of it,” she wrote.

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Shadow training secretary Bridget Phillipson

Ms Phillipson’s criticism of the scheme, which started a staggered rollout on Monday, had fuelled hypothesis that Labour would possibly preserve the free childcare hours set to return into power earlier than the election, however ditch these due from 2025.

On Tuesday, Ms Keegan wrote to her reverse quantity pressuring her to make clear, claiming that folks had instructed her they had been cautious of taking jobs due to uncertainty over the way forward for the childcare growth.

Childcare within the UK is among the many costliest on the earth, with the difficulty anticipated to be a key battleground on the common election.

The free scheme got here into impact on Monday 1 April, with working dad and mom of two-year-olds now in a position to entry 15 hours of government-funded childcare.

This will likely be prolonged to working dad and mom of all youngsters older than 9 months from September this yr, earlier than the complete rollout of 30 hours per week to all eligible households a yr later.

Mother and father ‘pissed off’ over rising childcare demand

Ms Phillipson instructed the BBC’s Newsnight programme on the finish of March that Labour wouldn’t decide to the £4bn plan, after commissioning a evaluate of childcare led by former senior Ofsted determine Sir David Bell final October.

Ms Keegan warned {that a} Labour victory on the common election might put the supply “in danger”, because of the evaluate.

Learn Extra:
Tories accused of failing dad and mom as value of childcare rises sooner than inflation
Prolonged free childcare rollout begins

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Nevertheless a Labour spokesperson instructed Sky Information: “Labour won’t take away childcare entitlements – we’ll assist childcare entitlements promised in September 2024 and after that too.”

In her letter, Ms Phillipson mentioned the evaluate would permit Labour to ship the entitlement the Tories had promised however “didn’t plan for”.

“Moderately than enjoying politics, will you now assure, lastly, that each one the dad and mom provided childcare will have the ability to get the hours you promised?” Ms Phillipson wrote.

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The growth of free care was introduced in March final yr however there have lengthy been issues concerning the sector’s capability to soak up the rise in demand for locations.

Authorities figures present the variety of childcare suppliers in England fell from 59,400 in 2022 to 56,300 in 2023.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was unable to ensure a childcare place to everybody that wishes one.

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