Former Prime Minister Liz Truss warns Rishi Sunak not to scrap her proposed childcare reforms, fast-tracked during her brief stint in Downing Street
- Liz Truss has warned Rishi Sunak not to scrap her proposed childcare reforms
- It comes amid growing concern among Tory MPs over its ‘unaffordable’ costs
- Ms Truss fast-tracked plans to offer more help to parents during her time as PM
Liz Truss has warned her successor Rishi Sunak not to scrap her proposed childcare reforms.
It comes amid growing concern among Tory MPs over the ‘unaffordable’ and spiralling costs that parents face.
During her short stint as prime minister, Ms Truss fast-tracked plans to offer more help. A third of women say childcare costs have forced them or their partners to consider quitting work.
But Mr Sunak has scrapped her plans to ditch mandatory staff-child ratios in nurseries, aimed at reducing overheads. Plans to extend free care for toddlers from 30 to 50 hours a week are also under review.
During her short stint as prime minister, Liz Truss fast-tracked plans to offer more help. A third of women say childcare costs have forced them or their partners to consider quitting work
Rishi Sunak has scrapped Truss’s plans to ditch mandatory staff-child ratios in nurseries, aimed at reducing overheads
A source close to Ms Truss told The Times: ‘Excessive bureaucracy is making childcare in England increasingly unaffordable. Junking Liz’s plans for this critical policy area seems economically and politically counterproductive.’
And Kit Malthouse, education secretary under Ms Truss, urged Mr Sunak to ‘push the go button as soon as possible’ on the former PM’s proposals.
He said: ‘The current system is a complicated Heath Robinson affair that means no one, parents or providers, is happy.
‘It’s fundamental for economic growth that parents are supported in work and my team and I had formed up a “childcare big bang” plan to do just that.’
UK parents spend around 26 per cent of joint income on childcare against a 9 per cent average in other developed nations. But the issue has slipped down Mr Sunak’s list of priorities amid crippling strikes and record numbers of Channel migrants.
English parents with children aged three to four can get 30 hours of free childcare a week. The Times says Mr Sunak is considering extending this to all two-year-olds rather than Miss Truss’s 50-hours proposal. Currently only parents on benefits get free care for children at two.
Tory MP Robin Walker, chairman of the Commons education committee, is to launch an inquiry into the problem.
He said: ‘It is a key issue which should be of great importance to any government interested in improving productivity.
‘Better access to childcare wins in multiple ways. It helps people to access work and remain in work. It also helps to make sure more children are school-ready.
‘We know there has been a problem post-pandemic with children having speech and language difficulties.’
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We’re certainly continuing to review all options to improve the cost, choice and availability of high-quality childcare for working parents.’
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