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Cameron: It will 'take time' to get childcare plans right

David Cameron Credit: ITV/This Morning

The Prime Minister has admitted it will "take time" to get the new childcare plans right.

Speaking on This Morning, David Cameron said: "It's going to take time to get this right because obviously we need an expansion of the childcare sector, we need more nurseries, more of these places to open so we're working with them to expand."

He added: "We need them to expand so we're going to start talking to them immediately about what's the best way of making sure that they're being properly paid for, the childcare that they provide, so that we can expand the number of places."

Free childcare 'already grossly underfunded'

The government grant to childcare providers for the existing 15 hours a week of free childcare is already "grossly underfunded", the Pre-School Learning Alliance has said.

Neil Leitch, Pre-School Learning Alliance chief executive Credit: PA Wire

Research for the charity suggests the government's plan to double this childcare would cost around £195bn a year, but funding at current rates amounts to £1.7bn - a potential shortfall of £250m.

Chief executive Neil Leitch said: "Simply raising funding rates by an arbitrary amount won't be enough - it is absolutely crucial that the Government ensures that the hourly rate of funding actually covers the cost of delivering funded places. Anything less risks destabilising a childcare system that is already struggling to stay afloat."

He warned an increasing number of providers may withdraw from the free childcare system if more money is not made available.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Leitch added: "There are many nurseries that can't physically extend their number of hours. They may operate in a church hall or community centre. Nobody has considered whether in fact they will be able to offer the 30 hours."

Read more: Free childcare trials fast-tracked to 2016

Charity: Political parties 'need to invest in families'

All three main political parties "need to invest in families" as they are the UK's most valuable asset, a children's charity has warned.

Anne Longfield, 4Children's chief executive, said the family vote would be "key" in the 2015 general election and called on MPs to improve childcare.

All the main political parties know that the family vote will be key at the ballot box next year.

With half of people calling for more support for children and families, it is clear that the scale of ambition needs to radically change.

Families are looking to all the parties to set out what they will do to make Britain great for children and families.

It is time for a real shift of ambition to give children and families the support they need to flourish. Families are our country's most valuable asset and political parties need to invest in them.

– Anne Longfield


Family life 'harder than ever' say almost half of Britons

Almost half of Britons feel family life has become harder over the last 30 years, a YouGov poll for a children's charity has found.

Almost half of parents feared their child's future would be worse than their own. Credit: PA

Some 46% said family life was harder in 2014 than it was three decades ago, according to charity 4Children.

Even more parents (49%) wanted the Government to do more to help them balance the demands of work and raising children in the 21st century.

Whichever party wins next year's general election should open schools from 8am to 6pm to help struggling parents cope, 4Children said.

They also wanted to see free childcare extended to 25 hours a week for all children aged between one and four by 2024, and for Sure Start to be turned into "children and family community hubs".

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.

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