Labour Plans Dramatic £4.8bn Expansion Of Free Childcare Policy

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with shadow early years Minister Tracy Brabin (right) during a visit to Little Learners Nursery in Watford to highlight the rising costs of childcare

A massive expansion of free childcare and “Sure Start plus for the 21st Century” will be central pillars of Labour’s offer to voters, Jeremy Corbyn will confirm. 

Under new £4.8bn plans from the party, 30 hours of free childcare will be available to all two, three and four-year-olds, and all means-testing will be scrapped. 

The poorest families will also be eligible for more free hours over and above the 30-hour threshold, while more well-off families needing extra childcare will be charged a maximum of £4-an-hour. 

In his speech to the Labour Party conference on Wednesday, Corbyn will say the “radical expansion and transformation” of early years provision will benefit more than a million children.

He will tell delegates the current system is “patchy” and “holding back too many parents and families”. 

“Universal free high quality childcare will benefit parents, families and children across our country,” he will say. 

“It is a vital and long overdue change that will transform people’s lives and meet the needs of a 21st century Britain for all.”

It comes as Tracy Brabin, the shadow early years minister, has pledged she will pioneer “Sure Start plus for the 21st Century”, with a ring-fenced £500m budget that will reverse cutbacks to Tony Blair’s flagship scheme since 2010. 

Labour will also aim to boost the quality of childcare, by insisting subsidised provision shifts to a graduate-led workforce – something the party believes will close the attainment gap between rich and poor children and drive up wages in the care sector. 

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during the Labour Party’s annual conference at the Arena…

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