The commitment will tackle the shortage of childcare places and give families more choice about how they manage work and care.
Under the Tories, the cost of childcare has risen by 30 per cent faster than pay. Since 2010, 720 Sure Start children’s centres have also been lost, and there are over 40,000 fewer childcare places across the country.
Labour will deliver more childcare places by making sure that children’s centres are using their buildings either to offer childcare directly, or by allowing local providers to use their premises.
We will also double paid paternity leave from two weeks to four weeks, and increase paternity pay by more than £100 a week to over £250 a week.
These plans add to policies already announced by Labour to ease the pressure on working families – Labour will extend free childcare for working parents of three and four-year-olds to 25 hours a week, and guarantee care from 8am to 6pm through every primary school.
Care doesn’t stop at the nursery gates – Labour will also invest in an NHS with the time to care, with 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more doctors so everyone can get the care they need, when they need it.
Every one of our spending and tax commitments is fully funded, all paid for without additional borrowing. Labour will clear the deficit and protect the services that people rely on.
The rising cost of childcare is one of the main causes of the cost of living crisis we face. Childcare costs are a major drag on the economy and on the ability of families to make work pay, and so more parents are unable to take jobs because they simply wouldn’t be able to afford childcare.
This stops people getting back into work. Figures analysed by the independent House of Commons Library suggest that around 135,000 women could enter the workforce or work extra hours with our childcare guarantee.
So our policies do not rely on more spending – they will get more people back to work. This will increase the overall tax contribution and reduce the amount we spend on benefits.
Only Labour will make Britain work for working people.