Liberal Democrats will provide 15 hours free childcare every week for all two year olds, under plans announced today.
This pre-manifesto commitment builds on the expansion of childcare as delivered by Liberal Democrats in government.
Currently all three and four year olds and two year olds from the most hard pressed homes are eligible for 15 hours free childcare each week. Liberal Democrats want to go further so that all children have the opportunity to get the best start in life.
In the long term, Liberal Democrats plan to extend free childcare to all working parents from the end of parental leave and this scheme is the first step towards achieving that aim.
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.
The plan would be paid for in part by scrapping the Conservative Party’s plans to introduce a tax break for some married couples.
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 two 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 all 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.”