The difficulties faced by parents of young children trying to secure childcare have been highlighted in Parliament by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth (4 July 2016).
The Labour MP used Education Question Time in the House of Commons to ask Ministers what progress they have made in delivering their pledge to provide 30 free hours of childcare per week for three and four year-olds.
It follows a report by the Public Accounts Committee, of which Karin Smyth is a member, which highlighted dangers that the promise is at risk because too few nurseries are likely to extend free places due to concerns about funding.
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Karin Smyth asked: “In view of all our findings, what is the Minister doing to ensure that local authorities manage their childcare markets effectively or intervene if necessary?”
Childcare and Education Minister Sam Gyimah indicated the government is working to ensure that local authorities have the money they need, but Karin Smyth added:
“The assurances about the availability of free childcare that working parents in Bristol South need was completely lacking in the Minister’s response.
“I know many people across the south of the city face real challenges as they seek to balance family duties with working arrangements. The government should be making the meeting of their needs a priority and I will continue to press Ministers on this in the weeks ahead.”