Thursday, 19 February 2015

Extending free childcare to help give children the best start in life

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has set out the Liberal Democrat vision for a world-class early years education system.

In a speech to the Pre-School Learning Alliance, Nick outlined Liberal Democrat plans to provide 15 hours a week of free childcare to all children of working parents aged between 9 months and two years.


This would save the average family £2,670 over the course of a year.

Nick also set out plans to give all two-year olds 15 hours free childcare per week, saving the average family £2,450 over a year.

In his speech Nick restated the Liberal Democrats long-term ambition to increase the provision of free childcare to 20 hours a week for all two, three and four year olds and for children of working parents aged between 9 months and two years.

Nick's comments come as the Family and Childcare Trust survey confirms that with demand increasing, the cost of childcare is rising.

Liberal Democrats recognise that pressure on working parents to budget for their childcare costs doesn’t just start when their child is two years old which is why we plan to introduce measures that will save families money.

Nick also discussed the Liberal Democrat commitment to increase the Early Years Pupil Premium from £300 to £1,000 per child.

He will outline the party's ambition to have a member of staff who holds Qualified Teacher Status in every childcare setting by 2020.

Nick said:
"Over the last five years, we’ve made it one of our biggest priorities in this Government to ensure that every child – whatever their background or circumstances - gets an equal shot at the successful future they deserve. 
"We want to build on that progress. So, in the next parliament, the Liberal Democrats will start by providing 15 hours a week of free early years education to every family with a two year old. 
"We will increase the Early Years Pupil Premium from £300 to £1,000 per child, per year – boosting the support you can give to these children. 
"The Liberal Democrats will make 15 hours of free early years education available to all working parents from the end of their paid parental leave at 9 months right through until their child is 2, and the existing provision begins.

"We are the only party with the clear commitment and plan, backed with the funding needed, to make it happen. We want a stronger economy and fairer society for Britain, where every child – whatever their circumstances or background – gets the best possible start in life. 
"So, keep working with us, and I and my party will continue to do everything we can to build a more successful and more family friendly country fit for our children to grow up in."