Childcare is a top priority for the Lib Dems

Lots in the news today about the crisis in childcare. As a party, it's an issue we're very focused on trying to sort out
Childcare is a top priority for the Lib Dems

Today the Coram Family and Childcare annual survey (full report available here) highlighted the challenges for parents with rising childcare costs and local areas reporting insufficient childcare places for children under two. It won't come as a surprise: anyone living in West Oxfordshire with small children has experienced these problems firsthand. Many parents cannot afford to go back to work because they can't afford childcare; at the same time, local childcare centres are struggling to make ends meet with inadequate funding, spiraling costs and shortages of staff. Some, like Daffodil Nursery in Long Hanborough, have shut down.

Childcare is a huge priority for the Liberal Democrats, and we will focus money, time and energy on improving it. Our basic commitment is outlined in the graphic above, but there is a lot more to work out. For me, focusing on childcare is a a no brainer. It's  is good for the kids—giving them education, interaction and activity. It's good for the parents—reducing the isolation of being at home day after day and giving them the opportunity to pursue a career and get back to work. It's also good for the economy—especially now that we have more than a million jobs that are vacant.

Our own kids are older now, but my wife Sophie and I supported three Syrian refugee children through nursery in Witney. Without government support, sending a child to nursery is unaffordable.

The bigger picture

UK childcare costs are already among the most expensive in the world. One study found that childcare fees are greater than rent or mortgage for two-thirds of parents. Childcare providers are also struggling, and planning a protest outside Downing Street on June 24th, 2023.

That's why the Liberal Democrats plan to overhaul the childcare system, making investment in this sector a priority. Nationally, our go-to person on this issue is Munira Wilson, our spokesperson on education. She says: “The Government needs to address this childcare crisis and invest properly in our children’s future. The Liberal Democrats believe parents deserve a fair deal with quality childcare provision for all, giving children the best start in life and parents more choice about when to return to work.”

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