Kendall welcomes proposals for free childcare for every family

December 1, 2008 12:47 PM
Cllr David Kendall

Cllr David Kendall

Children and parents in Brentwood and Ongar will benefit from new proposals for free childcare for every family, claims a leading local Liberal Democrat.

Cllr David Kendall has welcomed the proposals, launched by Party Leader Nick Clegg, which offer parents:

  • 19 months of paid parental leave, replacing current maternity and paternity leave arrangements. To get the maximum entitlement, parents will have to share the leave as no parent will be able to take more than 12 months
  • Free and flexible childcare for children aged between 18 months and 5 years for 20 hours per week
  • A commitment to improve the quality of childcare provision by expanding the role of children's centres as training institutions for local providers

"I am very pleased Nick Clegg has launched these proposals," said Cllr Kendall. "Paying for childcare is a real struggle for many parents, particularly when times are tough.

"As we enter the recession, more parents are going to find themselves having to look for work or wanting a part-time job to bring in some extra money. The need for flexible and affordable childcare has therefore never been more urgent. These proposals offer real help to families in Brentwood.

"Support for new fathers is currently very poor. Paid parental leave will give both parents in Brentwood an opportunity to spend meaningful time with their newborn baby during those precious first months."

Nick Clegg said, "Britain is a long way off becoming a child-friendly country. Our childcare provisions are among the worst in Europe. They discriminate against workless parents and freeze fathers out of looking after their young children. What we need is a childcare revolution.

"Finding childcare that fits around a family's needs can be a real struggle for parents.

"The Liberal Democrats want to make things easier for parents and give children the best start in life by providing free, good quality childcare for every family.

"With family budgets getting tighter, more parents are looking at going back to work or training to bring in some extra money. The need for flexible and affordable childcare has therefore never been more urgent.

"As a father of two young sons, I know what a struggle it can be for fathers to take time off work to spend with their newborn child.

"Paid parental leave - giving both parents the opportunity to spend meaningful time with their baby - will put mothers and fathers on a more equal footing and give families a chance to bond and enjoy those important first months."

The proposals will be debated at the party's conference in March.