MP’s view: Ministers must get serious about supporting families with a plan for childcare

MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq is fighting for childcare. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA

MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq is fighting for childcare. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA - Credit: PA

Childcare is absolutely essential for working parents and to our economic recovery from coronavirus.

But it has been ignored by the government in this crisis, with the early years sector being consistently excluded from support packages.

We did not hear a word from the chancellor about childcare in last month’s statement this month, despite a growing crisis that threatens the closure of a quarter of all providers.

As Labour’s shadow minister for Children and Early Years, I visited Bessborough Nursery and Pre-School in Pimlico last week with the shadow education secretary Kate Green MP.

We heard from parents about just how important the nursery is to them, both for the development of their children and so that they can get back to work as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis.

We’ve lost 14,000 childcare providers in the last five years due to years of underfunding, and we simply cannot afford to lose any more. Yet that is precisely what will happen unless the government targets support properly on sectors like childcare.

Research by the Sutton Trust has shown that childcare providers in deprived areas are most likely to disappear, and we know that women in particular will suffer most if families aren’t able to get the childcare they need.

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Every day that passes without targeted support for early years, the harder it will be for nurseries and childminding businesses to survive. It’s time for ministers to get serious about supporting families in this pandemic and step in with a proper plan to save the childcare sector.

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