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Unemployment falls by 146,000 to 2.02 million

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance has fallen. Credit: PA

Unemployment fell by 146,000 between May and July to 2.02 million, official figures showed today.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance last month fell by 37,200 to 966,500, said the Office for National Statistics.

Meanwhile, average earnings rose by 0.6 percent in the year to July.

Tax plan shows 'fundamental difference' to Tories

The Liberal Democrats say plans to scrap the married couples' tax allowance and use the savings to fund free childcare show the party has a "fundamental difference in values" to the Tories.

The party wants extend free pre-school education to all two-year-olds, building on the expansion in free nursery care for three and four-year-olds since 2010.

Business Minister Jo Swinson said the proposals would "benefit children and reduce childcare costs for working parents".

Nick Clegg is pledging to expand free nursery care to all two-year-olds. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/PA Wire/Press Association Images

She also hit out at the Lib Dems' coalition partners, saying: "This is 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," she added.

Lib Dems plan to scrap marriage tax allowance

The Liberal Democrats will scrap the married couples' tax allowance and use the savings to fund free childcare for every two-year-old in England if they are in government after 2015.

The pledge is part of a 'pre-manifesto' of 300 policies to be unveiled by Nick Clegg today and looks likely to be a sticking point in any future coalition negotiations.

The 80-page document is the basis for the party's manifesto for the 2015 general election and will be put to a vote by party members at their upcoming conference in Glasgow.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg wants to get rid of the married couples' tax allowance. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The marriage allowance policy puts Mr Clegg firmly at odds with his Tory coalition partners, who pushed through the tax break during this Parliament.

The party aims to go further with free childcare when resources allow, extending provision to cover all children aged between 9 and 24 months if both parents are in work.

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Balancing work and childcare 'is a juggling act'

Parents of a five-year-old girl starting full time education said balancing earning money with wrap around childcare was "a juggling act".

Barry Woodham and partner Emma Harrington told Good Morning Britain they have been forced to hire a childminder to care for their daughter Ruby when she enters full-time education in October.

Half of employers 'help parents with childcare'

Some 51% of parents struggling to find childcare said their employer was helping out by allowing them to work flexibly, a poll has found.

Research carried out by charity 4Children found:

  • 53% of parents were allowed to work fewer hours to meet the demands of childcare.
  • 33% of parents work from home some of the time.
  • However, 27% had not received any assistance from their employer.

Parents struggling with childcare 'consider leaving job'

Almost half of parents struggling to find childcare ahead of the new school year have considered leaving their jobs to look after their little ones, a study has found.

The charity called fore more primary schools to provide after and pre-school care. Credit: PA

An investigation carried out by a children's charity found single and young parents were struggling the most.

Some 61% of single parents and 63% of parents aged between 18-34 who had been unable to organise the childcare they need were considering giving up their job, said 4Children.

The survey of 500 parents with children of primary school age also revealed the need for schools to help provide care - 87% of parents whose child's school did not have an after school club wanted one.

Lib Dems pledge extra four weeks of paternity leave

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to extend paternity leave from two to six weeks, under manifesto plans unveiled today.

It means parental leave would be extended to 58 weeks in total.

The new policy goes further than the Government's introduction of shared parental leave, which means mothers and fathers can split an entitlement of 52 weeks between them.

A parent taking up to 26 weeks off is then entitled to return to the job they were working in before their child's birth.

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