Duncan Lewis

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A fresh proposal is being launched by the ministers to cut the cost of childcare

Date: (19 July 2012)    |    

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The new childcare commission, set up by David Cameron last month, will officially release a call for evidence and ideas on how to increase childcare provision and cut the cost.
Possible proposals include extending the school day and cutting the red tape imposed on the childcare industry by the last Labour government.
Ministers were concerned that the high cost of childcare was acting as a serious deterrent to hundreds of thousands of people from working and also was squeezing the incomes of millions in work.
The Prime Minister last night acknowledged that families were 'struggling' to meet the cost of childcare, and insisted that ministers were 'determined to do more to help'.
But a new study by the Daycare Trust has revealed that childcare costs had risen to record levels this summer. The cost of a week's childcare had touched a worrying average of £99.87, up three per cent on last year meaning the average family with two children was facing a childcare bill of £1,200 during the school holidays.
The study also suggested that two thirds of councils were not up to their duty to ensure there was enough childcare cover in place, leaving many parents struggling to find affordable care during the school holidays.
The consultation will ask parents and childcare providers for their views on ways to ease the strains in the system. A formal package of measures will then be drawn up by ministers in the autumn.
Ideas under consideration include extending existing after-school clubs to as late as 8pm to enable more parents to make use of them.
Ministers were also looking at cutting some of the regulations currently imposed on the industry which had fallen to half during the Labour government due to oppressive red tape. In future childminders could be allowed to look after as many as five children, rather than the current limit of just three.
Families minister Maria Miller said many families struggled to get affordable childcare despite billions of pounds of subsidies from the Government.
Speaking ahead of the launch, she said parents and providers need to work along with the government to refurbish the current system of support to make it more effective in supporting families juggle work and family life. Children's Minister Sarah Teather acknowledged that families were 'concerned about holiday childcare cover', and insisted the Government was determined to do more to help.

 

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