Free childcare rollout defended by government

2 weeks ago 27

A child plays with a staff member at a nurseryImage source, Getty Images

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Childcare capacity is being increased to cope with demand, the government says

By Nathan Standley

BBC News

The government has defended its rollout of free childcare after Labour called the system a "total mess".

The scheme is being expanded in phases, with 15 hours of free childcare now available for working parents of two-year-olds.

Rishi Sunak called it a "positive and exciting moment", while Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said 150,000 families had already registered.

But Labour said last week it would not commit to the plans.

Labour has said it does not believe the current plans will be able to provide enough extra places, but said it was committed to the "real opportunity" of reforming childcare.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Ms Keegan said the government was "working all across the country to make sure we build the capacity to cope with the demand".

The prime minister also appeared on BBC Radio Tees on Tuesday morning, where he said the government's "methodical" rollout was working.

"We said this is a really big change and we need to take the time to get it right, to give time for the sector to grow and expand," Mr Sunak said.

"And if you look, that is working. Staffing levels in the sector have increased, and the number of places has also increased over the past year as well."

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