Liz Truss warns Rishi Sunak not to scrap her childcare reforms amid concerns from some Tory MPs
Rishi Sunak has been warned by his predecessor Liz Truss not to ditch her childcare reforms, amid reports that the prime minister is moving to shelve the plans.
Ms Truss, who resigned from office after only a few weeks, had been considering a range of reforms designed to ease the cost burden on parents.
But Mr Sunak has reportedly moved to postpone indefinitely plans that would have increased free childcare support by 20 hours a week and ended mandated child-staff ratios.
This has already prompted concerns from some Tory MPs, with Ms Truss believed to be among those concerned.
A source close to the former prime minister said: “Excessive bureaucracy is making childcare in England increasingly unaffordable for many parents.
"The system needs to be reformed in order to boost growth and opportunity. Junking Liz’s plans for this critical policy area seems economically and politically counterproductive.”
Simon Clarke, a former minister and Truss ally, was among those to criticise the PM, tweeting this week: “We should do all we can to support working mums.”
On Wednesday, former education minister and chairman of the Education Select Committee Robin Walker said that relaxing rules on staff-to-children ratios is not the right way to pursue childcare reform.
The Tory MP said: “Any party that’s aspiring to run the country now needs to set out a serious set of policies as to how we better support parents, particularly in the early years.
“It’s great to hear the prime minister today committing to maths beyond 16, but, actually, if we don’t get the right approach to stimulating and supporting children early on, they won’t have the opportunities to thrive in the school system."
On Ms Truss’s proposed changes to the system, he said: “I believe actually the prime minister is genuinely interested in this area, and the answers he gave to me at the Liaison Committee in December imply that he does expect to continue ramping up investment in the early years.
“What we need to see though is policy detail. And I have to say, I don’t think the ratios idea… it’s the one reform to childcare that parents are almost universally against.
“I don’t think it was the right way of pursuing this. I think we have to look at other mechanisms to better support the sector, better support parents with the cost of childcare.”
Rishi Sunak will lay out his priorities and ambitions for the year ahead on Wednesday, which will include a new mission to combat high rates of innumeracy in England.
The UK remains one of the only countries in the world that does not require children to study some form of maths up to the age of 18.
The PM will say that with the “right plan”, he sees “no reason” why “we cannot rival the best education systems in the world”.
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