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Miliband criticises childcare cost

Labour leader Ed Miliband has attacked the Government's failure to provide cheap childcare. He will claim the cost of a nursery price has risen by 30% since 2010 - almost five times faster than the average wage.

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Miliband hits out at closure of Sure Start

The closure of Sure Start centres has made life harder for families as they fight for dwindling nursery places, Labour will say. Credit: PA

The Government's decision to close Sure Start children's centres has exacerbated the lack of childcare in the UK and left families struggling to find adequate care on a tight budget, Labour are expected to say.

Labour leader Ed Miliband will point out that there are 35,000 fewer childcare places and 576 fewer Sure Start centres since the last general election in a wide-ranging speech on childcare later today.

Mr Miliband is pushing childcare as a major feature of Labour's campaign to focus on the "cost of living crisis" ahead of the next general election.

He will say: "An average of three Sure Start centres is being lost every single week, contributing to a total of 35,000 fewer childcare places under David Cameron. And all at a time when the number of children under-fours in England has risen by 125,000."

The Opposition leader launched Labour's childcare policies at September's party conference, including an extension of free childcare for three and four year-olds to 25 hours a week for working parents, paid for by a levy on banks.

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