I meet many families on the doorstep and the cost of childcare eating into family budgets comes up time and time again.
Childcare costs have soared 30% under David Cameron.
In the North East, nursery costs are up 47%, childminding fees 11%, and the cost of afterschool childcare is up 43%, since 2010. For families hit by the cost-of-living crisis wages aren’t keeping pace with these higher bills.
At the same time, childcare places have fallen by 5,458 and the government have cut support to help make childcare affordable through tax credits for 4,800 families in the North East.
Childcare is a key barrier to enabling many mums, and it still is mainly mums, back to work after they've had a baby. Sky-high childcare costs mean work doesn't pay and mums that want to work more hours can’t afford to.
Labour understands this problem. That’s why we plan to extend free childcare for working mums and dads with three and four year olds.
In the North East 8,000 mums could be helped back into work or to work the hours they want thanks to Labour’s childcare pledge.
Tristram Hunt MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education joined me on the doorstep this week to talk to families about our childcare policy. We met a Thornaby couple with two small children who were very encouraged by the thought of 25 hours free childcare, saying it would make a big difference to them and enable mum to afford to go back to work. It is fantastic to be able to offer real life-changing opportunities to local people.
Under our plans, a parent could work part time for the first time without having to worry about childcare costs. Worth £1500 per child this will help boost the economy and help make work pay. 19,450 children in the North East will benefit.
Labour will also introduce a primary childcare guarantee to help mums and dads manage the logistical nightmare of organising before and after school care.
Parents in Stockton South will be better off with Labour. We’ll tackle Cameron’s childcare crunch and help make a difference for mums and dads.