Charities join forces to amend childcare bill

The Childcare Bill currently going through Parliament must recognise the needs of the poorest children whose parents do not work, national childcare charities urged this week.

Although the bill currently proposes a new duty on local authorities to ensure there is sufficient childcare available locally to meet the needs of working parents, the charities have warned that calculations must reflect a wider need for access to childcare as most children in low income families are not eligible for the working tax credit.

The charities – 4Children, the Daycare Trust, the National Childminding Association and the Pre-School Learning Alliance – have also tabled amendments to the bill demanding clarity for parents about what childcare they can expect in their area, higher quality childcare, a clearer role outlined for schools within the local childcare market, and a level playing field for the private and voluntary sectors as key providers.

An additional duty should also be placed on local authorities to find out what childcare parents need as well as assessing what is already provided locally.

“With further progress in these key areas – and backed by increased resources over the coming years – this bill can help create a real childcare revolution in the UK,” the charities said. “We need to set our sights high, ensuring support to children and parents when and where they need it most.”

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