Childcare commission to be launched by government
Prime Minister David Cameron is set to launch a childcare commission that will look into increasing the provision of childcare places as well as how to bring down the cost of places for parents.
The commission will be led by the Minister for Children Sarah Teather, and by Maria Miller, the current Minister for Disabled People, and will seek to look at the effectiveness of government support before it is increased by £1 billion by 2014.
The commission will explore issues that Downing Street regards as the most pressing for families struggling during the recession, as the cost of childcare is now outstripping many parents’ wages, forcing them out of work.
Such issues include cutting “red tape” that makes childcare more expensive and increasing instead the prevalence of childcare after school and in the holidays, known as “wraparound care”, which is not readily available at most schools in the UK.
Mr Cameron said: “Working parents want to know that after school or in the holidays their children will be looked after in a safe, happy environment that is affordable.”
The commission will look further afield to systems such as those in the Netherlands, which require all child-minders to be part of an agency subject to inspections, as opposed to the UK where checks are run on individual child-minders.
Sarah Teather told ITV’s Daybreak: “We are doing a great deal at the moment to try and make child care more affordable […]. We are trying to make sure that we can extend free nursery places to more families.”