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Lib Dems plan to provide free childcare for all 2 year olds

October 6, 2014 2:38 PM
By Lib Dems

Parents of two year olds would benefit from 15 hours of free childcare every week under Liberal Democrat plans.

The Government have already significantly expanded free childcare - with all three and four year olds and two year olds from the most hard pressed homes now eligible for the equivalent of 15 free hours a week. The Liberal Democrat commitment, which is included in the party's pre-manifesto, builds on this.

The plan would be paid for in part by scrapping the Conservative Party's plans to introduce a tax break for some married couples.

It would be the first step towards delivering the Lib Dems' longer term plans to extend free childcare to all working parents from the end of parental leave.

The party would then phase in an increase of the free childcare offering to the equivalent of 20 hours per week for all eligible families.

Liberal Democrat Business Minister, Jo Swinson MP said:

"Helping families with the cost of childcare is part of the Liberal Democrat plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society where there is opportunity for everyone to get on in life.

"Extending free early years education to all 2 year olds will benefit children and reduce childcare costs for working parents. It builds on our record in Government where we have expanded free early years education for every three and four year old and provided it for the first time to two year olds from the most hard pressed families.

"This is a ultimately a fundamental difference in values. Liberal Democrats want to help families with childcare support and nursery education right the way through from the end of parental leave to the start of school. The Tories are more bothered about helping only some couples through a married couples' tax break."

The Liberal Democrats' long term ambition, as resources allow, is to deliver the equivalent of 20 free hours to all children between the ages of 2 and 4 years, and to all children between the ages of 9 and 24 months where both parents work.

Our first step will be to extend the existing 15 hours for 38 weeks a year to all two year olds. As of September 2014, 40% of two year olds are entitled to this free childcare.

The next step would be to extend the 15 hours for 38 weeks a year to all children between the ages of 9 and 24 months where both parents work

The final step would be to increase the offering to 20 hours per week for 38 weeks a year - starting with four year olds, then three year olds etc.