State of the nation: So, Tony, on a scale of one to ten, how does your government rate? Families: 7/10

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The Independent Online

1. To increase nursery places for three-year-olds from 34 per cent to 66 per cent by 2002.

2. Reduce the backlog of council house repairs.

3. Reduce truancy by 2002.

4. Simplify the child maintenance support system so that by 2002 assessment is complete within 7 weeks.

5. New Parenting and Family Institute.


Despite pounds 470m to increase good quality affordable child care, the situation for under-threes has not improved, since many nurseries will not take such young children. There are less than 40,000 state nursery places for the 1.8 million under-threes. The Government has a comprehensive family policy but because it crosses many different departments there is a danger that good initiatives will fall through the gaps and not be tackled by any department.

The Government's initiatives to get mothers back to work risks alienating women who choose to stay at home.