Free childcare provision for two year olds is expanding

September 5, 2014 5:03 PM

The Liberal Democrats are committed to helping every child have the very best start in life; this September the number of two-year-olds entitled to free childcare is doubling.

Studies have shown that children from less advantaged backgrounds start school nineteen months behind their peers. To help address this issue, the Coalition Government has previously introduced 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year (roughly fifteen hours each week for thirty-eight weeks) for every three and four year old, and the twenty per cent most deprived two year olds.

As of September 2014, the number of two-year-olds that are entitled to fifteen hours of free early education per week has doubled to forty per cent. Parents of 116,000 children overall are now claiming free childcare, and more than 260,000 are eligible.

In addition to the free childcare, the Coalition Government meets seventy per cent of childcare costs for low- and middle-income families through tax credits, rising to up to eighty-five per cent under Universal Credit, and is also introducing tax-free childcare from autumn 2015 which will see all eligible families receive up to £2,000 towards each child's childcare costs.

Parents can find information about the entitlement at: https://www.gov.uk/freechildcare. Mark Hunter MP celebrates with the staff and children at Fledgling Pre-school and Day Nursery in Bramhall

Mark Hunter, local MP for Cheadle constituency, commented on the announcement saying:

'The Liberal Democrats are passionate about everyone having a fair chance in life. It is an astonishing statistic that children from poorer backgrounds can be as much as nineteen months behind other children even before they've had a single lesson.

'I am delighted that free childcare is being extended to more of the UK's less well-off two year olds; nursery schools are a great way for children to learn and to build up their social skills. Furthermore this policy will help hard-pressed families' budgets, and enable parents to have more choice in their childcare arrangements.

'I am very keen that no parents or their two year olds should miss out on this opportunity and so would encourage parents to check their eligibility on the Government website.'

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