“Every Plymouth child needs the best start in life. I’ll vote for 30 hours free childcare a week for all 2 to 4 year-olds.”
Getting a good start in life is the only way to make sure that no child begins school at a disadvantage, and I know that the best way to do this is to make sure all families have the support they need.
Under the Tories, ordinary working families with young children are being hit hard. Tory tax and benefit changes will leave more than 16,000 working families in Moor View around £1400 a year worse off. It’s shocking that two thirds of children who are growing up in poverty live in working households.It’s no longer true that work always provides a route out of poverty. That’s why I support Labour’s policy to reverse cuts to Universal Credit work allowances, boosting support for millions of low-paid families who work hard to earn a living.
It’s particularly tough for new parents. At the moment there is a gap between the end of maternity leave and the beginning of full-time schooling. This makes it hard for parents, especially women, to return to work. Sometimes they can get family or friends to help out, but not everyone has that option. Working parents can now expect to spend almost half of their disposable income on childcare - and in Plymouth the cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under 2 has risen by a third since 2010.
Labour wants to roll out educational provision for young children as part of a National Education Service that is truly lifelong. It was a Labour Government that introduced free childcare hours for parents, and we will build on that by extending the 30 free hours to all two-year-olds, make some childcare available for one-year-olds, and extend maternity pay to 12 months.
Sure Start, and the support it gives to parents, was one of the greatest achievements of the last Labour government. As a Labour Councillor I’ve fought successfully to keep our Sure Start Centres open in Plymouth. As your local Labour MP I’ll carry on that fight to make sure that money is available for our Children’s Centres. That way, every parent in Plymouth Moor View will have confidence that their child will have the same chances and opportunities as every other child, no matter what their background or where they live.
It’s another example of how Labour, and I, want to improve things for the many, not the few.