- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Joyce Watson AM for Mid and West Wales today used Assembly Education Questions to welcome Welsh Labour’s pledge to double early years and childcare provision for working parents of three and four year old children.
The pledge will deliver an extra 10 hours free childcare, in addition to the universal Foundation Phase entitlement. Welsh Labour also confirmed its commitment to free school breakfasts for all pupils in primary schools.
Mrs Watson explained:
“We want to make life easier for hard pressed families who are juggling childcare commitments with employment. It will be funded by raising the banking levy by £800m a year, this will equate to an approx. £40million Barnett consequential for Wales.”
Speaking at the Senedd this afternoon (11 Feb), the Labour Mid and West AM asked education minister, Huw Lewis AM:
“Do you agree with me that one way to reduce the impact of poverty on educational attainment is to lift the family out of poverty itself? So, will you join me in welcoming Welsh Labour’s commitment to double early years and childcare provision for working parents, including the extra 10 hours’ free childcare that will support those parents back into work?”
The Minister for Education and Skills replied:
“I will. This is set to be a transformative measure for families in Wales, which, of course, was announced earlier today. A doubling of childcare is, I think, nothing short of a heroic commitment in the atmosphere of austerity that we find ourselves in. We will work closely now with parents and with communities to work through the detail of how best to construct that offer to help hard-working families.”
Commenting after the launch, Welsh Labour’s Minister for Communities, Lesley Griffiths added:
“We know that times are tough for many families across Wales, with parents working hard to make ends meet. Today’s announcement will be a helping hand to those who are juggling the responsibilities of work and childcare, and will hopefully give mums returning to work a particular boost.
“Wales has blazed the trail in terms of the Foundation Phase scheme for the early years, and we know this is having a positive impact on the life-chances of children across the country. But, we do hear from mums and dads that just an extra few hours of childcare could make big difference to their families.
“As a working mum, I remember just how tough it was juggling those responsibilities. You often find yourself relying on informal arrangements with friends and family, so I know that any extra childcare provision will be really welcomed by people in that position.”