Clegg has attacked Liz Truss’ plans for childcare reform and offered a commitment to block the high profile plans.
In an interview on LBC 97.3 this morning, Mr Clegg said, “We’ve got to get this right. We’re still obviously discussing this in Government.”
He said he was “absolutely passionate” about improving the quality and availability of childcare but “we have got to get this right”.
Mr Clegg also questioned whether any change in policy would result in cheaper childcare costs for parents.
“I have got young children … they have been through nursery so I know how much parents will really care that we get this right in terms of improving both the affordability of childcare, which we must do, but also the quality.
“What the Department for Education did is they consulted and they said is it possible to have an adult look after more children, so instead of four two-year-olds … go up to six two-year-olds. I think four is already quite a handful, just imagine if they go up to six.
“Can you do that at the same time as raising quality? A lot of people basically got back in the consultation and said this isn’t going to work, particularly for very small children, it isn’t necessarily going to be passed on in terms of cost savings to parents.”
The Deputy Prime Minister also denied that his intervention will have any impact on plans to offer child care vouchers worth £1,200 to working parents.
Neil Leitch, Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said: ‘Thousands of parents and practitioners, as well as some of the country’s leading early years academics, are against these changes, which will lower the overall quality of childcare in this country.
‘We trust the Deputy Prime Minister will listen to what parents and the sector have to say about these proposals, which we believe are a huge mistake.’
Stephen Twigg, shadow education secretary, said the childcare plans had “descended into chaos”.
“Labour has warned for months that increasing the number of children that nursery staff look after would threaten child safety and the quality of care,” he said. “After intense opposition, including from parents, childcare staff and experts, the government appear to be U-turning on ratios.”