ED BALLS visited Chester yesterday to outline Labour plans to give working parents more free childcare.
The Shadow Chancellor visited the Children’s Centre on the University of Chester Campus on Kingsway, Newton, to tell parents that if they are in work the number of free childcare hours will increase from 15 to 25 under a Labour Government.
After speaking to a number of new parents at the centre he outlined his plans for the increase and attacked the coalition Government for giving tax breaks to the rich.
Mr Balls said: “What we have seen over the last few years is the cost of child care going up when child tax credits are worth less. Lots of parents will want to work but are finding it really hard to stack things up. We would increase the levy on the banks and use the money for working parents to increase the free offer of child care from 15 to 25 hours a week.
“We like the fact all parents get some support but if you go out to work you need more support.
“At a time when the budget deficit is big and families are under pressure we can do more to help working parents.
“If you are earning more than £150,000 then you will be better
off with the Tories but no one else
Parents he spoke to at the centre seemed to broadly agree with the proposals. One new mum, Carrie Jerrum, said: “It would be amazing. It is difficult as a working parent because it costs about £600 to go into full time child care which is a huge amount of money, sometimes around the same as someone’s mortage. That makes it difficult and I can understand why families find going back to work so difficult.”
Beth Hobson, who has just had a baby, said: “I think it is going to be positive to have more free child care. In a lot of European countries there is a lot more given towards child care.”
See full story in the Chester Leader