Labour and ChildcareFebruary 15th, 2015
Families want to affordable childcare to help them manage work and kids, but this Government has not only closed over 700 Sure Start children’s centres, but left an increasing number standing empty due to reduced opening hours and cuts to services. Parents are asking why we’re not making better use of these public buildings, while they are struggling to find the childcare they need.
Labour will require Sure Start centres children’s centres to offer childcare, opening up an extra 50,000 childcare places to families. And by ensuing that our Children’s Centres are used, we will help them to fulfil their role as hubs for family services in the community.
Q and A
How much will this cost?
This policy won’t cost Government as it is simply about making better use of existing quality facilities – Sure Start centres – which are set up to offer services to young children but in many areas are being mothballed, at a time when childcare places are falling. Sure Start will invite childcare providers to base themselves in their centres and make use of their facilities and parents will pay for the childcare, as they do for childcare places located elsewhere
How do you know how many extra places will be opened up through this policy?
Around one in three (1,100) Sure Start centres say they have the space to offer more childcare, including through inviting childcare providers to use their premises, if given extra support or direction from local authorities. And the charity 4Children has suggested that opening up children’s centres in this way could lead to at least an extra 50,000 places.
Why haven’t the Tories done this already?
The Tories don’t understand the importance of Sure Start for working families. Over 700 children’s centres have closed under the Tory-led Government, and many more are standing empty due to reduced opening hours and cuts to services.