Parents in Reading have told Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, that high childcare costs have made returning to work unaffordable.
Harriet Harman joined Labour councillors and Victoria Groulef, the Reading West parliamentary candidate, to carry out a school gate survey at Wilson Primary School on Tuesday 19th November.
Parents in the South East face huge bills as the region has the most expensive childcare outside of London, it’s the issue that comes up time and time again on the doorstep - Victoria Groulef.
A number of mums said that having more than one child meant returning to work was out of the question because their wages would not cover the childcare bills.
After the visit Harriet Harman said: “I met young mums who have so much to offer and who want to work but simply cannot afford to because of the cost of childcare. We have to unleash this wasted potential and the only way to do that is to solve the childcare crisis.
“Labour’s plan to increase free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds would give them the time and freedom to get back to work and it helps their household budget, and the economy benefits as they start to use their knowledge and their skills and they pay taxes."
The Labour Party has pledged to introduce guaranteed wraparound childcare places before and after school for primary school children, the party would also introduce 10 extra hours of free childcare provision for working parents of three and four year olds, this would be paid for by an increase in the Bank levy.
The fifteen free hours available to all three and four year olds would remain in place as well as the 15 hour offer for the 20% most disadvantaged of two year olds.
Labour’s Victoria Groulef has been campaigning for cheaper childcare and better access.
Victoria said: “To have Harriet’s help with our survey was a real bonus and it shows how seriously we are taking this issue locally in Reading and as a party.
“Parents in the South East face huge bills as the region has the most expensive childcare outside of London, it’s the issue that comes up time and time again on the doorstep.
“Labour’s childcare policy can put things right, the free childcare for working parents is worth over £1500 a year and it allows them to concentrate on the benefits of working rather than the sky high costs of quality childcare.”