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In the third of our election pieces, we publish a Conservative statement about what they say they will do for working families.
As part of our election coverage, workingmums.co.uk and workingdads.co.uk asked the three main political parties for interviews or, failing that, authored blogs about their policies relating to working families. We have published interviews with Labour’s Laura Pidcock and the Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson. The Conservatives have not put anyone up for interview, but have today sent the article below by a ‘Conservative spokesperson’ instead. This is a shame as we would have liked to ask them for more detail about their policies and their record to date on issues like childcare. These are some of the questions we would like to have asked: How will you enforce any new legislation on flexible working, given the current legislation is very weak? What concrete plans do you have to help working families aside from the money for wraparound care? Why is there no mention of early years childcare funding when many childcare providers say they are in crisis due to underfunding of the Government’s ‘free’ childcare policy? Have you got any plans to review Universal Credit in light of the fact that so many working families are having to resort to food banks to feed their children? Will you commit to protecting existing employment rights after Brexit?
In the last three years, Parliament has been stuck in a state of paralysis. We know that you are fed up. If a Conservative majority government is elected this week, we will get Brexit done and move on to focus on the priorities that you care about.
We will look at ways to support working families across the UK. Our lifestyles have been transformed over the last four decades – many families today have two working parents who are juggling work and other responsibilities. They have to stretch themselves daily to care for children, elderly relatives and those with disabilities.
The modern workplace is adapting, but a Conservative majority government will act to make things easier for working dads. We will learn from the sensible approaches adopted in other countries and introduce a raft of measures that balance the needs of employees and employers.
We will legislate to allow parents to take extended leave for neonatal care, to support those new mothers and fathers who need it during the most vulnerable and stressful days of their lives. And we will look at ways to make it easier for fathers to take paternity leave.
We are going to reform the law to make flexible working easier, and for those with children, we will establish a new £1 billion fund to help provide more childcare. Over the last nine years, we have extended the availability of free childcare for working parents. We know that people value this support, but wish it could be more flexible. That is why we will fund more high-quality and affordable childcare before and after school and during the holidays so that working parents do not have to choose between their careers and their children.
Our vision for the labour market, in other words, is not one where the state does everything for you. It is one where the state does everything it can to help you help yourself – by upgrading your skills, or by being able to balance work and family life.
We will also raise the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year – representing a tax cut for millions across the country. And we will raise the National Living Wage to £10.50 per hour by 2024.
So, come with us. Let’s get Brexit done and build a better Britain for you and your family.