Welsh Lib Dems call for better access to affordable childcare

February 18, 2014 3:51 PM

Aled Roberts portraitFollowing research highlighting that almost one in three families spend 30% or more of their available earnings on childcare, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Welsh Labour government to do more to improve access to affordable, quality childcare.

In a debate in the National Assembly, the party will call for the Welsh government to review the system of pre-school childcare entitlement in light of enhanced provision in England under the Coalition government.

The party will also call for more wrap around and holiday childcare provision across all ages. A recent childcare survey revealed there were significant gaps in provision offered in Wales.

Due to the lack of information available, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are also calling for the Welsh government to introduce a single online source of information to help parents with information about childcare services and entitlements and how to access them.

Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson on children, said:

"The cost of childcare is a huge worry for many families. The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that more needs to be done to ensure families have better access to affordable, high quality childcare in Wales.

"There are significant gaps in childcare provision in Wales. Families with disabled children, or who work atypical hours, simply do not have sufficient childcare options on offer. Likewise, there is a significant difference in the number of children who access Flying Start through the medium of Welsh and those who go on to study in Welsh at school.

"It is often confusing for families to work out what they are entitled to. A single online source of information would help new parents find out about childcare services and entitlements and how to access them."

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

"For many mothers it is not worth working because childcare has become so expensive; the numbers simply don't add up for them. We want to change that.

"Of course it is perfectly reasonable that some parents choose not to return to work until their children attend school. However, we want parents to have the option to return to work available to them.

"It is often said that over a million women are 'missing' from the UK workforce as financially it doesn't make sense for them to go back to work. More must be done to support these mothers in accessing affordable childcare as it will offer a significant boost to our economy."

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