Reforming childcare can boost our economy and help working mums(April 28, 2012)
Liverpool Walton MP, Steve Rotheram, has spoken out about the need to reform childcare and give working mums in walton, the lifeline they need to invest in their own careers.
"Amid all the talk of Rupert and James Murdoch this week, it is easy to forget the news story that will most impact on the lives of people in Walton; that the UK is officially back in recession.
"Labour has consistently warned David Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne that their cuts go too far, too fast and will lead us into a double-dip recession. But instead of focusing on a plan for jobs and growth, our economy has actually shrunk and women have been amongst those hardest hit by the Tories’ economic policies.
"New figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in the last quarter, 34,000 women have given up work altogether - this is the fastest rise in female worklessness for almost a year. Over the past 18 months, an additional 32,000 women have chosen to stay at home to look after their children because they cannot afford to work, according to research by Aviva.
"Labour did much to help working mums during our time in government, including setting up 3,500 Sure Start children's centres which were heralded by the charity 4Children as ‘one of the greatest achievements of modern government’, but more needs to be done which is why Labour has launched a major review of childcare provision.
"Labour’s Childcare Commission will look at how we can provide a high quality, cost effective childcare service fit for the 21st century, partly by looking at examples from other countries. In Norway, parents can access cheap, high quality childcare from birth to age five and in Denmark childcare is free to the lowest income families. The results of such policies are clear - both Denmark and Norway have 10% more women in work than the UK - and worth considering further.
"There is a strong economic case for reforming the childcare system. International evidence has shown that having more women in work boosts growth and generates revenues that cover the costs of childcare.
"Instead of the current Tory approach where an average family with children will be hit with a £580 bill because of tax and benefit changes coming into effect this month, we need a tax and benefit system that doesn’t punish mums who decide to work.
"Reforming childcare is of huge importance, both for supporting economic growth and for helping hard-working families, and we all stand to benefit from such change."