Koru Kids has after school nannies in your local area

We get it – you’re probably sick to the back teeth of the political mud-slinging and Brexit banter that’s made up this General Election, and keen to be debating the merits of Brussel Sprouts over a break from Brussels. But knowing what the major parties are pledging when it comes to childcare might just matter to you when it comes to voting on Thursday 12 December.

After all, the childcare conundrum affects every family in Britain, and it’s just as important to the economy as any other sector. In 2016, informal childcare alone was worth today’s equivalent of £350 billion, according to the Office of National Statistics.

And in Britain, we can’t quite get it right. A study carried out by the OECD shows that the U.K. has the second-most expensive childcare for working parents amongst developed economies. In turn, this contributes to some of our deepest societal problems.

Working mums are the most affected, with the lack of affordable childcare costing a massive £1.2 billion in lost wages. The Institute of Fiscal Studies revealed that the loss of work experience after the birth of their first child can account for two thirds of the gender pay gap between graduates.

Income inequality generally could also be dramatically improved by better access to childcare. Research from Heriot-Watt University found that out of 40 different policy areas, changes to childcare had the most profound impact upon increasing household income.

So what are the main parties planning to do to tackle the issue in the upcoming election? We’ve hacked through the party manifestos so you don’t have to.

The Labour Party

  • Pledge to reverse cuts to Sure Start and create a new service, Sure Start Plus, with enough centres to provide a genuinely universal service, available in all communities, focused on the under-2s
  • Within five years, entitle all 2, 3 and 4-year-olds to 30 hours of free preschool education per week and access to additional hours at affordable, subsidised rates
  • Pledge to extend childcare provision for 1-year-olds, (though no further details of the specifics at present)
  • Commit to paying childcare costs up front so that parents aren’t forced to turn down work or get into debt to pay for childcare

The Conservative Party

  • Pledge to establish a new £1 billion fund to help create more high quality, affordable childcare, including before and after school and during the school holidays
  • Offer support to schools and other third-sector providers to increase childcare provision for mainly school-age children by creating more choice.
  • Offer wraparound childcare for Forces families

Liberal Democrats

  • Pledge to offer free, high-quality childcare for every child aged two to four and children aged between nine and 24 months where their parents or guardians are in work: 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year
  • Increase the funding for these free hours to cover the actual cost of nursery provision
  • Invest £1 billion a year in Children’s Centres to support families and tackle inequalities in children’s health, development and life chances

The Green Party

  • Pledge to provide 35 hours a week of free childcare for all, from the age of nine months. This free childcare will include in-work facilities, such as on-site crèches and flexible working opportunities (e.g. job- shares) to help working parent
  • Delay the start of formal education to 6 years, with those under 6 remaining in early years education, with a focus on play-based learning and access to nature

The Scottish National Party

  • Expand early learning and childcare – from 600 hours per year to almost double that at 1,140 hours per pupil
  • Increase shared parental leave from 52 to 64 weeks, with the additional 12 weeks to be the minimum taken by the father in order to encourage an increase in shared parental leave
  • Introduce a principle of ‘use it or lose it’ – whereby the paternity leave cannot be transferred in order to encourage fathers to take the leave

Women’s Equality Party (policies taken from 2019 European Election manifesto)

  • Implement a fully equal system of nine months shared parental leave on 90% of pay, with a 3-month use-it-or-lose-it provision for each parent. This includes legally-binding provision for self-employed parents
  • Introduce full-time, high quality, free childcare for all children from the end of shared parental leave

The Brexit Party

  • No childcare policies currently outlined in their manifesto.

The general trend from these policies – although some are more specific than others – is a promise for increased subsidising and access to childcare via public-sector owned or registered providers. Yet these pledges, according to a study in the Financial Times, are not properly costed in their respective manifestos. (Read more here).

They also overlook the growing role of the private sector, which currently provides more than half of all nursery places, and of which Koru Kids is part.

So whoever you vote for, know that at Koru Kids, we want to ensure all families receive equal access to childcare as and when they need it which is why we are growing our nanny base, investing in nanny share, and have created our free Family Finder tool, designed to help you match with other parents with similar childcare needs. And that won't waver on Friday morning. 

Koru Kids has after school nannies in your local area