The main parties are promising to increase the amount of free childcare that’s on offer. What else are the main political parties saying about childcare?
Conservative party manifesto
The Conservatives are promising a wide-ranging assessment of childcare provision.
- Shared parental leave: Aim to improve the take up of shared parental leave.
- Childcare: An assessment of the childcare provision that’s needed.
- Nursery schools: An assumption that all new primary schools have nurseries.
Labour party manifesto
Labour is promising to extend maternity pay, introduce subsidised childcare and extend free childcare.
- Maternity pay: Extend maternity pay to 12 months. Currently it lasts for 39 weeks.
- Sure Start: Halt the closure of Sure Start centres. These centres give help and advice on parenting, family health, money and provide childcare for pre-school children.
- Paternity leave: Increase paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase rates of paternity pay.
- Unfair dismissal due to pregnancy: Strengthen protection for women against maternity discrimination.
- Gender pay auditing: Introduce a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay audits.
- Free childcare: Extend the current 30 hours of free childcare a week during term time that parents with three and four year olds (in England) can get to all two year olds. Currently only two year olds whose parents are on a low income can get free childcare. Move towards making some childcare available for one year olds.
- Increase childcare availability: Introduce subsidised childcare to make it more affordable.
- Childcare employees:Move towards employing graduates in childcare by increasing wages and improving training.
- Child bereavement: Introduce the funding of burial fees for children so parents don’t have to pay. Some councils have already done this.
Liberal Democrats’ manifesto
The Liberal Democrats are promising to extend paternity leave, improve rights to shared parental leave and increase free childcare.
- Paternity leave: An extra month’s paid paternity leave.
- Shared parental and paternity leave: These will become rights from day one of employment.
- Childcare: Extend free childcare of 15 hours a week to all two-year-olds in England and for working families from the end of paid parental leave. The long term goal is for 30 hours’ free childcare a week for all children aged two to four years (England only). Make sure this childcare is fully funded.
UKIP party manifesto
UKIP is promising a far-reaching review of childcare provision – in part to de-regulate and simplify childcare provision.
- Childcare vouchers: UKIP will allow parents to use their free childcare vouchers for childcare that’s not registered with Ofsted.
- Wrap-around childcare: Primary schools will offer wrap-around childcare from 8am to 6pm during term time.
- Childcare register: Local authorities will have to keep a register of childcare providers willing to provide emergency childcare cover at short notice.
- Play spaces: Amend planning legislation so that housing estates have to have play spaces compulsory. Nurseries and crèches should be included in developments such as shopping centres, office blocks, hospitals, airports, and railway stations.
- Childcare for children with special needs: UKIP will create a fund worth £80 million a year to help childminders and smaller childcare providers employing five people or fewer, to take more children with special needs. Grants of up to £3,000 per childcare provider will be available.
Scottish National Party
- Free childcare: By 2021, free early years education and childcare will increase from 16 hours a week for all three and four year olds to 30 hours.
- Babybox: Every new born child in Scotland will have a free baby box, which will include items like bedding, clothing, toys, a digital thermometer and several baby grows.
Plaid Cymru manifesto
In Wales Plaid Cymru will: provide free full-time nursery places for all three year olds. This will form a part of their plan for tackling child poverty, which will also include measures to end fuel poverty through reduced household bills and scrapping the bedroom tax.
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