Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran

The Conservative Party have set out in their manifesto that if elected, they would spend £250 million a year on expanding childcare provision for primary school children after school and in the school holidays.

However, the latest Government estimate is that there are 4,727,090 pupils in state-funded primary school meaning that the Conservatives’ announcement is worth a meagre £1.02 per pupil per week. 

This is also equivalent to just 16 minutes additional childcare a week.

Following this, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran said:

“Parents struggle to find childcare to look after their kids until they get home from work, both in term-time and in the school holidays. But Boris Johnson’s childcare offer is an insult to these families – he’s spending just £1 a week for every primary school child in England.

“So, it’s no surprise that this is an unambitious, uninspiring childcare offer. It’s aimed at just 5% of children who go to primary school.

“Liberal Democrats have a plan to build a brighter future for every child. We will give parents 35 hours a week of high-quality free childcare from the day they go back to work to the day their child starts school, including in the school holidays.”

  • The average cost of after school childcare is £57 a week for 15 hours. That works out at £3.80 an hour. The £1.02 would equate to 16.1 minutes of care on that basis.
  • The Conservatives estimate that the funding will support just “250,000 more primary school children to get onsite childcare over the summer holidays. That is on top of the approximately 650,000 that get it now.” As the 650,000 people already get provision (either provided free by the school or by paying for it), this means that the extra £250 million for childcare in the school holidays will only newly benefit just 5.3% of the primary school population.
  • Liberal Democrats have a plan to deliver the best start in life for children: free high-quality childcare from nine months for all working parents, properly funded. Parents wanting to go back to work will get the help they need, knowing that their child will be happy, healthy and ready to start school. And by tripling the Early Years Pupil Premium and expanding Children’s Centres, we can give further help to the most disadvantaged children, narrowing the achievement gap.
  • We will:
    •  Offer free, high-quality childcare for every child aged two to four and children aged between nine and 24 months where their parents or guardians are in work: 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year.
    • Increase the funding for these free hours to cover the actual cost of nursery provision.
    • Invest £1 billion a year in Children’s Centres to support families and tackle inequalities in children’s health, development and life chances.

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