Government to launch childcare commission

 

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the launch of a new government commission to look into childcare, currently one of the top financial burdens on UK families.

The Daycare Trust have warned that as the cost of childcare outstrips wage increases, some parents may be forced out of work and onto benefits. Their report puts the average annual cost of part-time care for a child under two over £5,000 – with prices up to three times that in London.

The commission will be led by education minister Sarah Teather and work and pensions minister Maria Miller. As well as cutting the costs of childcare, they will look at ways to increase the supply of places and provide “wrap-around care” for over-fives during out-of-school hours and holidays.

 Mr Cameron said: “Working parents want to know that after school or in the holidays their children will be looked after in a safe, happy environment that is affordable.

“We want to do all we can to reduce the cost of childcare for parents, and make sure they can find and afford high quality nurseries, after-school clubs and holiday schemes for their children.”

As well as looking to international childcare models for inspiration, the government will consider expanding innovative UK-based schemes. These include the Mossbourne Academy in east London, which offers a schoolday ending at 8pm and the Free School Norwich, which provides affordable childcare six days per week, 51 weeks of the year.

The commission will also investigate whether “red-tape” rules such as the adult-to-child ratio could be relaxed in areas where there are no after-school clubs.

Children's Minister Sarah Teather told ITV Daybreak that the commission aims to help the poorest of parents."We are doing a great deal at the moment to try and make child care more affordable, so by 2014 two out of five families will get 15 hours at a nursery, beginning with the poorest of those families, particularly those who are earning the least and working hard.We are trying to make sure that we can extend free nursery places to more families."

In February the shadow work and pensions secretary, Liam Byrne and the shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg, told the Observer newspaper childcare would be at the centre of Labour’s manifesto going into the next election. “We have known for years that investing in a child early on in life saves money in the long term.”

Childcare Around The World

Denmark

Childcare is free to the lowest-income families. Other families pay up to 25 per cent of the cost of day care with the government making up the difference.

France

Parents of two or more children can leave employment or reduce their working hours and receive a flat-rate childcare benefit for up to three years. Eighty per cent of women aged 25-54 work full-time.

Germany

Germany has suffered from a shortage of childcare places for the under-5 for some years. According to EU figures, just under 40 per cent of German women have a full or part-time job compared with 75 per cent in Sweden.

Japan

Rated among the “lowest-low” of countries for birthrate, Japan also has the fourth lowest spending on childcare. Enrolment rates for children under 3 are 28 per cent, below the international average of 31 per cent.

USA

The US is the only country among the 36 developed nations surveyed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) without a national paid parental leave policy. Although total public spending on education is above the average, most of this is spend on public compulsory education, not early years care.

Source: OECD

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory