Labour Party leader Ed Miliband was in Dewsbury yesterday (Thursday) to trumpet the party’s plans to extend free childcare for hard-pressed parents.
Mr Miliband visited Ravensthorpe Community Centre to meet children, parents and staff and discuss their views on Labour’s pledge to extend free childcare for working parents to 25 hours a week.
Labour say this could help 12,000 mothers get back to work or work more hours across Yorkshire
The plans are worth £1,500 per child and would be paid for by an increase in a levy on banking transactions.
Speaking to the Reporter Mr Miliband said: “The cost of care is sky rocketing and we need to act on this.”
He said that 15 hours was a short amount of time to offer parents, especially those with part time jobs.
“This will also help more people off benefits and into work and help with the financial situation,” he said.
“I’m not going to promise things I can’t deliver on.
Asked about the economic recovery he said this was only being felt by some people.
“The question is, are we going to have a recovery for the many or the few?” he said.
Shadow Childcare Minister Lucy Powell said: “Families face a triple whammy when it comes to childcare.
“Childcare costs are up 30 per cent since 2010 – five times faster than wages.
“There are fewer childcare places under this government and the support they relied on to help make childcare affordable has been reduced.”
The proposals are part of the party’s wider plans to tackle what they say is a “cost of living crisis” throughout the country.
Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell said more detail was needed on how the policy will be paid for.
“What we have is a whole load of new spending commitments from Labour but we need detailed explanations of how these can possibly be paid for,” Mr Reevell said.
“The bank levy is not a magic pot – it can’t pay for everything.”
Mr Reevell also said people could start to feel more positive thanks to the government’s economic measures and an improving economy.
“Not everyone is benefitting from what has happened yet but everybody can agree that the recovery is on the way,” he said.