Labour has dedicated to conserving the federal government’s free youngster enlargement if it wins the overall election – describing the Tories’ suggestion in any other case as an “outright lie”.

In a letter to Training Secretary Gillian Keegan, shadow minister Bridget Phillipson stated her get together “is not going to be eradicating any entitlements supplied to households now or these promised to them sooner or later”.

“Your suggestion on the contrary is an outright lie – and the general public is not going to imagine a phrase of it,” she wrote.

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Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson speaking during the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. Picture date: Wednesday October 11, 2023.
Shadow training secretary Bridget Phillipson

Ms Phillipson’s criticism of the scheme, which started a staggered rollout on Monday, had fuelled hypothesis that Labour would possibly preserve the free childcare hours set to come back into pressure earlier than the election, however ditch these due from 2025.

On Tuesday, Ms Keegan wrote to her reverse quantity pressuring her to make clear Labour’s place, claiming dad and mom had advised her they have been cautious of taking jobs due to uncertainty over the way forward for the childcare enlargement.

Childcare within the UK is among the many most costly on this planet, with the difficulty anticipated to be a key battleground on the common election.

The free scheme got here into impact on Monday 1 April, with working dad and mom of two-year-olds now in a position to entry 15 hours of government-funded childcare.

This might be prolonged to working dad and mom of all youngsters older than 9 months from September this yr, earlier than the total rollout of 30 hours every week to all eligible households a yr later.

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Dad and mom ‘pissed off’ over rising childcare demand

Ms Phillipson advised the BBC’s Newsnight programme on the finish of March that Labour wouldn’t decide to the £4bn plan, after commissioning a evaluation of childcare led by former senior Ofsted determine Sir David Bell final October.

Ms Keegan warned {that a} Labour victory on the common election may put the supply “in danger”, on account of the evaluation.

Learn Extra:
Tories accused of failing dad and mom as price of childcare rises sooner than inflation
Prolonged free childcare rollout begins

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Nevertheless a Labour spokesperson advised Sky Information: “Labour is not going to take away childcare entitlements – we are going to help childcare entitlements promised in September 2024 and after that too.”

In her letter, Ms Phillipson stated the evaluation would enable Labour to ship the entitlement the Tories had promised however “did not plan for”.

“Fairly than taking part in politics, will you now assure, lastly, that every one the dad and mom supplied childcare will have the ability to get the hours you promised?” Ms Phillipson wrote.

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The enlargement of free care was introduced in March final yr however there have lengthy been issues in regards to the sector’s capability to soak up the rise in demand for locations.

Authorities figures present the variety of childcare suppliers in England fell from 59,400 in 2022 to 56,300 in 2023.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was unable to ensure a childcare place to everybody that wishes one.


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