Jeremy Corbyn to extend Labour’s free childcare offer beyond 30 hours-a-week

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to extend his party’s free childcare offer beyond 30 hours for low-income families.

The Labour leader is already promising 30 free hours for all two, three and four year olds – but will say even more will be available if Labour wins office.

Currently families in England receiving some forms of support are entitled to 15 hours free childcare for their two year olds.  Then all families are entitled to the same amount for children aged three and four.

But some working households with three and four year olds are then entitled to an additional 15 hours, bringing the total for many employed parents to 30 hours free.

Under plans proposed last year, Labour would give a blanket 30 hours to all two, three and four year olds, with Mr Corbyn’s latest offer now going further.

There would be additional free hours of childcare on top of the free 30 hour allowance for low income families, and additional care charged at no more than £4 per hour for those in a higher income bracket.

The party says the extra childcare would be met by providing at least an extra £4.8bn of funding.

However, a regional Nursery lead has said that although the plans would provide families with greater support, nurseries are already heavily subsidising the free childcare.

Jane Bell, Director of Oranges and Lemons Nursery in Darras Hall, said: “I agree with the principles of the plans – they provide more support for families, greater value of those working in early years and an emphasis on maintaining quality and standards.

“However, currently nurseries are heavily subsidising the ‘free’ childcare that is offered by the government, and this must stop if the current trend of nursery closure is to be halted.  Any funding for providers must be realistic for them and affordable for the government.”

Read more on these plans in the Independent.

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