Childcare costs rocket as Tories fail on pledges to help families
Working parents face rocketing childcare costs as youngsters return to school after the holidays, Labour has warned.
The party has released figures showing the price has gone up twice as fast as wages since the Tories took the reins in 2010.
Average childcare costs have soared by a third, from £92.99 to £124.23 a week, while pay is up less than a sixth.
And it comes just as the Government’s new 30 hours-a-week entitlement falls hugely short of its pledge.
The Tories had promised 630,000 places – but only 216,000 families have so far been accepted. A third of those have not yet got the cover they need.
Tracy Brabin, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Early Years, said: “They haven’t even provided a quarter of the places they claimed.
“They’ve left hundreds of thousands of parents either ineligible or unable to access the free childcare they were promised. It’s far short of the pledges they made when they asked for votes.”
Ms Brabin said parents were “feeling the squeeze” from ever-rising childcare costs and wages that “can’t keep up”.
She added: “The figures show the Tories are letting down working families.”
Ms Brabin promised a Labour government would give 30 hours of childcare a week to every child from two until four – “with the resources to actually deliver it”.
For a family with two children, the average cost of childcare over a full seven-week summer this year would have been £1,745 in England. In the most expensive region, the North East, they would have spent £1,862.
David Cameron had vowed at the 2015 election that all working families of three and four-year-olds would be entitled to 30 hours’ free childcare – a pledge maintained by Theresa May.
But the scheme has been plagued by technical difficulties and evidence of under-funding. This week the Government admitted it had issued just 216,000 codes to parents – a third of those pledged.
And nearly one in three of those given a code have not actually been found a funded place on the scheme.
Two major nurseries, Busy Bees and Co-operative Childcare, have said they cannot cover the 30 hours in many areas.
Busy Bees said parents will be limited to three consecutive hours at a time and must pay for the rest of the day to help them cover costs.
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