Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Thurrock Labour candidate raises childcare proposals concerns

JEN Craft, Labour’s candidate to be Thurrock’s MP has spoken out against Government plans to relax the rules on staff to children ratios in nurseries, following an incident last month at a local pre-school.

It is expected that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will unveil plans to relax childcare ratios in early years settings from 1:4 to 1:5 during the budget due on Wednesday.

One in four parents who use formal childcare say that the cost is now more than 75% of their take home pay, with the average cost of childcare reaching £2,537 a year.

Last month, two children escaped from Acorns preschool in Chadwell St Mary by crawling under a fence, managing to cross several roads before being returned by concerned members of the public.

Jen Craft said: “As a parent to young children I know that you have to have absolute confidence that your children are safe and well cared for when you drop them off at nursery, I can only imagine how horrified the parents involved in the incident at Acorns must have been.

“This has really brought home that trying to resolve the childcare crisis by relaxing staff ratios will only serve to put children’s safety at risk.

“For too long early years settings have been deliberately underfunded by successive Tory governments, leading to rising costs, closing provision and a situation where 75% of mothers say it no longer makes financial sense to be in work.

“The nationwide childcare crisis is a scandal that is holding our economy back and failing children and families. Labour will put childcare front and centre of our plans to rebuild the UK’s infrastructure, reforming the not fit for purpose childcare system will be the Shadow Education Secretary’s first priority in Government.”


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