On Mother’s Day, we say thank you to our mums for all their love, help and support. But in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and with prices rising consistently faster than wages, we believe that mums deserve a break, and not just for a day. Mums in Rachel's Leeds West constituency keep telling her that they are struggling just to make ends meet. While millionaires are enjoying a tax cut, mothers are suffering. Sadly, we are not ‘all in it together’.
They have been hit especially hard by the government’s failure to curb the rising cost of childcare. While prices have risen by 30% since the last election, there are now 35,000 fewer childcare places because David Cameron reneged on his pledge to protect Sure Start Centres. They have shut at a rate of three per week. And that’s not all: parents now receive up to £1500 less in childcare support through working tax credits. Many mothers who want to work can no longer afford to.
Struggling mums will have taken little comfort from last week’s budget. Granted, the Tories have pledged to introduce tax-free childcare, but only if they win the next election. The truth is that David Cameron and Nick Clegg have had four years to help struggling mothers and have chosen to do nothing. In fact, worse than nothing, because they have cut support to the tune of £1500 per family.
Rachel commented, “Families are constantly telling me they are concerned about the rising cost of childcare, on top of the rising cost-of-living. They welcome free childcare being extended to 25 hours a week, as Labour is pledging”
Where the Tories have failed, Labour will succeed. In addition to tax-free childcare, we will give the working parents of three and four year-old children an extra ten hours of free childcare a week, that is, 25 hours, for 38 weeks a year. A second earner would then be able to go out to work without worrying about how to pay for childcare. This single change is worth £1500 a child and will help mothers get back to work. The Early Years Entitlement (15 hours a week for 38 weeks a year) would remain in place for all parents.
And we’ll change the law to guarantee before and after-school care for primary school kids because we understand how hard it can be to juggle work and family life.
On mother’s day, we thank our mums for everything that they do for us. Labour will say thank you by introducing more free childcare and by making that childcare work for working mothers.