Ed Milliband has pledged in his new year message to pursue the policy of universal childcare for all pre-school children and to make childcare a priority, if elected as Prime Minister.(Guardian 30 December 2013).In a Guardian interview the shadow childcare minister, Lucy Powell, said of free universal pre-school childcare: “I’d love it to be [introduced]. My job is to make the political and economic case for childcare, not just the childcare offer that we have right now but an extension of that. I am absolutely firmly of the belief that if you invest in childcare it pays for itself over time because it increases maternal employment rates.”
In the SmithMartin Partnership, childcare has always been seen as one of the most fundamental needs of young families. Over the last 5 years it has increased in cost and the argument for developing universal childcare which is affordable and accessible for all remains highly important.
The case for universal childcare was indeed a key part of the previous Labour Party initiatives and with the development of Sure Start provided a platform for a major plank of Early Years programmes for quality Early Years education.
Naomi Einsenstadt developed the concept of Sure Start within the Dept. of Children, Schools and Families, and the move into Sure Start Children’s Centres.
Good quality childcare enables young children to receive good early years education, to reduce the effects of poverty and to give families a vision for the future.
We hope that this recent statement from Labour will turn into a reality.
SmithMartin Partnership LLP – bringing communities together