Childcare Bill plans greeted with demand for affordable services

Children’s charities have warned government that the
improved system of child care outlined in a consultation paper on
the forthcoming Childcare Bill will fail without extra

For the first time, the Bill would put a duty on local authorities
to guarantee the provision of child care for all children aged
between 3 and 14.

“While councils will have a duty to ensure that places are
available, most parents will be expected to pay the full cost
themselves, which for a family with two children can easily add up
to £300 per week,” warned 4Children chief executive Anne

“Tax credits can help for those on lower incomes but, even
so, many parents and children are still in danger of missing

Longfield said that child care would also need to be available when
parents needed it, which could be in the evenings, at weekends,
early in the morning or during school holidays.

A spokesperson for the Daycare Trust insisted that, without further
resources, it would be difficult to ensure that the new system was

“We are seeing more and more places for children, but in a
tough economic environment. For every two centres that open, one
shuts down.”

He added that the consultation paper failed to address the crucial
issue of the quality of the workforce.

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the National Day Nurseries
Association, called for a national framework to outline how local
authorities should involve both private and voluntary sector
nurseries, with targets to avoid duplication.

She said private providers operating in less affluent areas needed
more support from local authorities.

Consultation ends 7 October 2005. Go to

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