Childcare ‘likely to be key area for mums in election battle’

Over two-thirds of mothers would be less likely to vote for a party that cut free childcare places or tax credits, according to research by the Daycare Trust.

Child with painted hands


The Daycare Trust, along with Bounty Parenting Club, surveyed 2,500 mothers and asked how the political parties’ childcare policies would affect their voting intentions in the forthcoming General Election.
The research found that:

  • The 12.5 hours free childcare a week that all 3 & 4 year olds are entitled to is the most important childcare policy to mothers, with 69%  saying they would be less likely to vote for a party that reduced or removed the free entitlement.
  • a removal or reduction in tax credits would make 67% of mothers less likely to vote for a party that cut them, and a limit or reduction in childcare vouchers would put off 60%.
  • 54% of those polled said that any party that failed to protect Sure Start Children’s Centres would suffer at the polls, with 57% saying the same of Child Trust Fund initiatives.

Childcare charter launched

The charity today launches its Daycare Trust Childcare Charter, a six-point manifesto designed to put the issue of childcare at the heart of the election. As well as free places and tax credits, it calls upon the next Government to improve the quality of childcare and protect Sure Start Children’s Centres.

The six points are:

  1. Aim to spend 1% of GDP on early childhood education and care so that all children get the best start in life
  2. Extend free places to ensure that all children benefit from early childhood education and care
  3. Extend parental leave and make workplaces family friendly
  4. Fill the gaps in provision and guarantee extended schools
  5. Make childcare affordable for all parents
  6. Celebrate Sure Start Children’s Centres and extend the range of services on offer.

Families need support

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Daycare Trust, said: “Our survey shows that any party hoping for success at this election must prove they are serious about giving families the support they need, and set out a clear commitment to invest in childcare.

“The fact that these policies are so significant to the mothers we spoke to shows the progress that has been made in recent years, but there is still a long way to go. Parents across the country are telling us more needs to be done – that’s why today we are publishing Daycare Trust’s childcare charter, outlining the policies that will make a real difference to families, and asking all parliamentary candidates to give it their backing.”

In the run-up to the election, we are hearing speeches and sound-bites from politicians about children and families every day. However, in reality it is firm policy promises on issues such as flexible working; more financial help with childcare, and improved childcare provision that will not only win votes but also really deliver support for families.”

Children’s charity launches manifesto

The charity 4Children has also launched its manifesto for the upcoming General Election. The measures contained in A Vote for Children and Families 2010 include:

  • Turning public services inside out to ensure they can really meet the needs of families
  • Ensuring there is help available to children and families before problems become crises, and throughout the different ages and stages of childhood
  • Providing more support for working parents in particular ensuring that childcare is more flexible and affordable
  • Tackling child poverty and making work pay
  • Giving every young person a safe place to go and fun things to do
  • Improving neighbourhoods and building family-friendly communities.

Meanwhile, the Commons’ Children, Schools and Families Committee says cutting the Sure Start scheme would be disastrous, but said more data on its effectiveness and value for money was needed.

Sure Start centres deliver a range of services to families with young children, including help for parents wanting to find work, childcare, healthcare and family support.

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