Childcare changes from the labour party conference


The labour party conference in Brighton today will hear from Ed Balls, who will tell delegates about the party’s plans to expand free childcare for three and four-year-olds to 25 hours per week for working parents if they win the next election.

He will tell delegates that he would raise the free childcare limit from 15 hours per week to 25 hours.

“For the first time, parents will be able to work part-time without having to worry about the cost of childcare,”

The 10 extra hours of free childcare would be available to households with three and four-year-old children, where all adults are employed.  This means single-parent households where that parent is in work, or couple households with both adults in work.  The current 15 hours will still be available to all 3 and 4 year olds.

In addition, Labour has already announced a Primary Childcare Guarantee for families with school-age children.

This will give all parents of primary school children the guarantee of access to childcare through their school from 8am to 6pm, although parents will still have to pay for the childcare through state-funded vouchers or their own money.

But by ensuring schools remain open and willing to look after children from 8am to 6pm, parents can commit to working longer hours.

Stephen twigg said ‘David Cameron scrapped Labour’s programme to support before and after-school clubs, leaving many parents struggling to juggle work and family life.

‘If we want an economy that works for working people, we must support parents trying to balance these pressures.’

The Primary Childcare Guarantee will be written into law if Labour wins the 2015 election.


4 thoughts on “Childcare changes from the labour party conference

  • September 25, 2013 at 7:43 am

    AT LAST – Finally people seem to be singing from the same page as me! I too need to charge £5.50 an hour and only received £3.51 an hour in funding, this means that we ‘lose’ £25,000 a year, not that I want all that money for myself, I would love to be able to pay my dedicated, hard working staff a more realistic wage. Being a term time only, 6 hour a day setting where most children come for their 15 hours of free sessions – we too find it difficult to make up the difference and with funding for two year olds (we have not registered for this funding because they pay our normal hourly rate) we are seriously worried about the future.
    The analogy I use – The government have given a voucher for a dress, the voucher is worth £50, I can go anywhere to choose a dress and I can demand that I can exchange the voucher for the dress without having to pay the difference, it will be given to me and the seller will have to claim the £50. I could go to any supermarket and choose a dress or I could go to Harrods, choose an expensive designer dress and they would be expected to lose the difference, they would not do it! Why should we? No other sector of industry would put up with a ceiling on their earnings, especially such a low ceiling.
    Why should a provider offering excellent facilities and brilliant staff ratios because they want to provide the best service that they can for the children in their care receive the same amount or less than providers with far less provision.
    If I want to have my dress from Harrolds – I should have a choice – I can take my voucher and deduct the £50 and pay the difference. This is how it would work if the issue was ‘clothing’. We should go back to being able to charge the difference.
    We all want parents to be able to access excellent childcare but it should not be at our expense – providers of excellent childcare can not afford to continue and it will be them that are going out of business or simply deciding to opt out.
    It is short sighted of any government to expect this to continue.
    I agree with all the other comments – it is time we stood up for ourselves

  • September 24, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I totally agree with the two responses above. I run three sessional nursery schools and we are not open for 25 hours a week. Therefore we will not be able to make up any fees from private places. We will definitely be forced to close if this comes into effect. Our nurseries have served the local community since the 1960’s and will be forced to shut down because of ill informed political parites trying to win votes. Is it time for nursery providers to stand up against the government hijacking our industry? I for one would be happy to get involved.

  • September 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    I TOTALLY support and agree with Helen Baynham’s message. When I opened my nursery in 1987 my intention was to provide the very highest care and early years education possible and to work closely with parents to create an exciting, happy and loving environment for their children.
    The Government is now endeavouring to destroy my life’s work by …….. forcing me to lower my standard in the guise of what THEY call “free” Childcare. Top quality provision can only be provided by dedicated, highly trained and experienced staff within a carefully laid out, well equipped and resourced environment who deserve to be properly remunerated for their wonderful work. Everyone knows that you can’t stay in a 5* Hotel and pay 2* prices. The Government – whatever their colour – must let market forces prevail or they will drive every high quality nursery out of business. The Government has no right to highjack private nurseries, mislead the voters and force down the quality of childcare in this country. High quality, outstanding Private Nurseries MUST stand up for what they believe.

  • September 23, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I expect that the Labour party’s claim of their intention to increase the free childcare hours to 25 for working parents will be music to the ears of hard working parents of young children. It will not however provoke the same response from many equally hard working owners of private nurseries. As is now the case with the current 15 hour entitlement, these so-called “free” places are being subsidised by the private nurseries as, no matter who is in government, they are not paying the going rate for a place. I run a very highly regarded private nursery school – we are always full with a waiting list, have excellent inspection grades and have won various awards but I am forced to give out these ‘free’ places and told that I cannot add on any top up fee. To pay our staff, rent, utilities, etc., I need to charge £5.50 per hour per child but instead I am paid £2 less than this per child per hour and told to make up the money from private places. Firstly, why on earth should private customers subsidise the government’s so called free places and secondly, as we are a nursery school for 3-5 year olds, most children are entitled to a free place so where am I supposed to get the extra income from? We ‘manage’ because some children take extra hours but with an increase to 5 hours per day or 25 over the week, we shall simply be put out of business. I would love to see every private nursery in the country refuse to give out any free place unless they receive the going hourly rate….. I’d love to hear the views of other nursery owners.


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