Robin Walker, MP for Worcester has welcomed the Conservative Government’s plans to double free childcare for hardworking families – which will benefit up to 50,000 parents in across the West Midlands.

The offer of 30 hours of free childcare per week during term time – worth around £5,000 a year – means parents will be able to get on while bringing up a family. All three- and four-year-olds in working families will be eligible for 1,140 hours of free childcare per year – twice the current entitlement. When plans for extending Childcare were first announced in 2013, Robin spoke up in Parliament to support them and to say that this was such a good idea it should be brought forward sooner, he was delighted to welcome the commitment in the 2015 Conservative manifesto and even more pleased to be appointed PPS in the Department that is delivering the new expansion of childcare places and has brought forward pilots for free childcare in the current year.

Robin has already written to Ministers in the Department to provide them with feedback from local childcare providers as to how best to make this work and to feed into their funding review, to make sure that Worcestershire childcare gets a fair share of the funding available.

Thanks to these reforms, including 30 hours of free childcare, a doubling of the number of childcare places and Tax-Free Childcare, working families will be able to save thousands of pounds – extra money in their pocket towards day to day living costs. Many people who might otherwise have been unable to return to work will also be helped to return to the workplace.

Robin commented:

“Childcare costs can be a burden on family finances that prevents parents from working. We want to make it easier for those parents who do want to work, to do so.”

“That’s why we are going further than ever before to help with childcare costs, helping hardworking families and giving people the opportunity to get into work. Doubling free childcare will make a real difference to up to 50,000 parents in Worcestershire. Parents will be able to return to work and hold on to more of their hard-earned money, while their children benefit from 30 hours of free, flexible childcare”

“On top of this, the government is also committing to increase the average childcare funding rates paid to providers (the hourly funding provided for each free place) with the Department for Education set to begin a review before summer, overseen by Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah. I am looking forward to supporting Sam in this work and working closely with him and the Education team to roll out more free childcare in Worcestershire.”

Notes to editors:

Robin Walker welcomed the roll out of free childcare in his first speech of the 2015 Parliament which can be found here:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150603/debtext/150603-0003.htm#150603-0003.htm_spnew24

In April 2013 he welcomed the announcement of measures to increase fee child care but called for them to be given greater urgency saying:

“The fact that the Government are increasing the tax threshold shows that we are rewarding work at the same time as simplifying the tax system. The fact that we have been able to bring forward those changes shows that there is a sense of urgency about delivering an unalloyed public benefit, which many Labour Members have supported today.”

“I would argue that the same sense of urgency should be brought to the issue of child care support for working families. The Prime Minister set out exciting policies on that before the Budget, but my constituents are being asked to wait until 2015 for the support. I have heard from many constituents who are delighted to hear that it will be available through the tax system but are then devastated to realise that by the time it is implemented, their children will have grown out of the eligibility criteria.”

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130418/debtext/130418-0003.htm#130418-0003.htm_spnew39

He previously spoke up for more help on child care in a debate on the cost of living in 2012

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120516/debtext/120516-0002.htm#12051642001126

  • The Childcare Bill will double free childcare available for all working parents of three- and four-year-olds to 30 hours a week. And to underline our commitment to support working families, the Prime Minister is announcing plans to introduce the changes for some families a year earlier than planned, together with a commitment to review and increase the average funding rates paid to childcare providers (Department for Education Press Release, 1 June 2015, link).
  • Number of parents that will benefit by region.
  • North West (60,000)
  • Yorkshire and Humberside (50,000)
  • West Midlands (50,000)
  • East of England (70,000)
  • London (120,000)
  • South East (90,000)
  • South West (50,000)