Doubts over child care commitment

Regional Development Agencies’ commitment to child care was thrown
into doubt this week.

Only four of the nine RDAs turned up to the first ever meeting of
RDA child care leads held last week, London Development Agency
board member Sally Powell told a conference on child care and
regeneration this week.

She said that trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt had
personally asked RDAs to look at child care as a priority last
year. However, only the South East England Development Agency,
Yorkshire Forward, South West of England RDA, and the London
Development Agency had attended the meeting.

Powell, who is also deputy for regeneration at Hammersmith &
Fulham Council, urged conference delegates to write to those RDAs
that had not turned up to ask them to look at child care.

The news follows a plea by children’s minister Margaret Hodge last
month for RDAs to invest in children’s centres. She said she hoped
the nine agencies, which are primarily charged with economic
regeneration, would recognise the importance of children’s centres
to economic development (news, page 9, 13 May).

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