Bridget Phillipson Labour Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South
Keir Starmer has set out his five missions for a better Britain, which will drive forward the ambitions of the next Labour government and a stronger future for Britain.
As Shadow Education Secretary, I’m proud to be responsible for Labour’s mission to break down the barriers to opportunity at every stage.
Central to this mission will be giving every child the best start in life, so reforming childcare will be my first priority.
Because, under the Conservatives, parents are paying more but getting less.
Labour recognises that parents are struggling to access high quality, affordable childcare right now.
The government’s piecemeal system has seen struggling providers given less money for childcare hours than the Department for Education itself, says it costs to deliver them.
The government have deliberately short-changed providers.
As we’ve seen across our city, this has forced providers to go to the wall, leading to less availability and higher costs for families.
As a result, there are now more than five children for every childcare place in Sunderland, and two children per place across England.
The childcare model the Conservatives have built fails everyone.
It fails parents who cannot find the childcare they need to work the jobs they’d like. It fails staff who are denied opportunities to progress at work and be recognised for doing one of the most important jobs of all. Most importantly, it fails children when they do not receive high quality early learning.
When children arrive at school five months behind their friends, we have to acknowledge this system is broken.
Tweaking this system will not deliver the ambition or scale of reform necessary.
The next Labour government will chase down every penny it spends and I won’t throw money at a broken system.
I will focus on building a system that works for families, from the end of parental leave to the end of primary school.
We will start by delivering breakfast clubs in every primary school in England, saving parents money and ensuring every child gets the start to their day they deserve, funded by ending non-domicile tax status enjoyed by the global super rich.
A modern childcare system will enable parents, especially women, to work the jobs they choose and ensure every child gets the best start in life.
Only a party that understands families can solve the childcare challenge.
After all, affordable, available childcare is what enables families to thrive together.
People do not live so that they can spend their time working, we work to have a richer life.
Labour knows that. It’s in our name.
Labour is the party of working people and because of that, Labour is the party of the family.