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Election 2024: Labour pledge savings for parents as childcare policies fleshed out

Free breakfast clubs in primary schools will save parents an annual £400, Labour has said, as the party begins to flesh out its plans for childcare policy.
Free breakfast clubs in primary schools will save parents an annual £400, Labour has said, as the party begins to flesh out its plans for childcare policy.

Free breakfast clubs in primary schools will save parents an annual £400, Labour has said, as the party begins to flesh out its plans for childcare policy.

The scheme will also cut almost half a million days of school absence, the party claimed, with the fully funded breakfast clubs set to be rolled out across all English primary schools.

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “Families’ childcare needs don’t end when their kids leave nursery. We’ll fund our clubs by clamping down on tax dodgers and save hardworking parents over £400 every year.”

For parents who already pay for alternative before-school childcare, such as childminders, the clubs could cut the cost by up to £50 a week, delivering savings of almost £2,000 across a school year, the party said.

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The plans are a first step, Phillipson said, in delivering a transformation in childcare which supports families from the end of parental leave to the end of primary school.

According to research by Kelloggs, cited by the party, a quarter of top-level professionals report that they needed breakfast clubs to help juggle childcare, or get to work on time.

It comes after City A.M. reported London’s economy could be being held back by around £5bn a year due to issues with childcare costs and shortages.

City Hall has warned a “shortage of suitable childcare is having a detrimental impact on London’s economy”, with it often not making “financial sense” for mothers to increase hours.

Conservative Treasury minister Laura Trott said: “HM Treasury officials have found Labour’s policy costs four times more than Labour claims – that means new tax rises to pay for it.

“Not only have Labour admitted their schools’ tax raid will mean “larger classes” in state schools which will damage children’s futures, this unfunded policy is part of Labour’s £38.5bn black hole requiring £2,094 of tax rises on every working family.”

Labour have denied they will implement £2,000 of additional taxes.

The childcare plans come as the Conservatives pledged to launch a new neighbourhood policing programme to recruit 8,000 new police officers in a bid to cut local crime rates.

They said the plan would be paid for in part by removing the student discount to the Immigration Health Surcharge and increasing all visa fees by 25 per cent.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “People deserve to feel safe in their neighbourhood.

“More bobbies on the beat and increased powers will give police forces the tools they need to drive down neighbourhood crime even further.”

But Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, said: “This is yet another empty promise from a desperate Tory Party that has decimated neighbourhood policing over the last 14 years.

“Labour has a costed and funded plan to put 13,000 more neighbourhood police & PCSOs back on the beat, by cutting back-office waste.”