Jeremy Corbyn turns up heat on Conservatives over free childcare 'teething problems'

The Government says it is providing £6bn every year by 2020 for the scheme

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Friday 08 September 2017 09:00 BST
Jeremy Corbyn speaks to supporters on tour earlier his summer
Jeremy Corbyn speaks to supporters on tour earlier his summer (Getty Images)

Jeremy Corbyn will attempt to pressure Conservatives in marginal seats today by accusing them of failing to fund their own pledge to provide 30-hours free childcare.

The Labour leader will make the claim in the final stages of a tour of Tory seats he believes Labour could win from Theresa May’s party.

Plans to provide all three and four year olds with 30 hours free care has proved popular with voters, but ministers have admitted “teething problems” with implementing the policy.

Mr Corbyn will also highlight the closure of a string of Sure Start centres as his tour draws to a close in the Midlands.

During a visit to a Sure Start centre in Corby, Northamptonshire, he is expected to say: “The Conservatives are failing young children and their families.

“On their watch, eight Sure Start centres have already been lost in Northamptonshire and their refusal to properly fund their own childcare policies will mean more and more families not getting the support they need and deserve.

“Childcare and early years providers across the country, like The Pen Green Centre in Corby, need the funding to deliver 30 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds. Across the country, providers have made that case to the Government but ministers are refusing to listen.”

He pledged that a Labour government will ensure childcare providers have resources they need to deliver the free childcare and in addition invest £500 million in Sure Start centres.

Under the Government's plans, all three and four-year-olds in England will be entitled to 30 free hours of childcare a week from this month, up from 15 hours.

Earlier this week, the Government apologised to parents for “teething problems” after some found it difficult to secure the free support.

Some nurseries have claimed the funding allocated for the plan does not cover the true cost of providing the extra hours.

The Department for Education has said it is “determined to support as many families as possible with access to high-quality, affordable childcare” and highlighted that it is investing £6bn every year by 2020.

The funding includes an additional £1bn a year by 2019-20 to pay for the free care and to raise the national hourly rate to local authorities for three and four-year-olds to £4.94.

Mr Corbyn will finish his tour of marginals on Saturday after visiting about 40 seats over the summer in a campaign to build on Labour's increased support at the general election.

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