More Childcare Will Reduce Poverty

Further funding should be made available for childcare in Wales in an effort to reduce child poverty, a Labour MP said today. Chris Bryant (Rhondda) said: “One of the first duties of government is to try to tackle the inequalities between rich and poor.”

Introducing his Childcare Provision (Wales) Bill, he said the best way to tackle child poverty is to enable parents to work. He said he was “proud” of measures such as Sure Start and the additional 23,000 childcare places introduced in Wales in the last eight years.

But, he said, there are still “significant problems” including a lack of places for the children of everybody who would like to go to work. He said the cost was “prohibitive” to many parents and not enough people want to become carers.

Mr Bryant praised the Welsh Labour Party’s Mobile Mamma manifesto policy to provide emergency childcare. But he said current childcare provision was not “as inclusive of every young parent” as it should be.

Mr Bryant said: “One young parent said to me it’s great going along to these new facilities and everyone is very welcoming, but it sometimes feels like a gathering of the middle classes. Everybody’s chatting away about how to puree organic pears, but they don’t really have a proper understanding of how childcare might fit their personal particular needs.”

He said childcare should be made available, particularly to teenage mothers. Mr Bryant said parents should not be forced to go to work but it should be “possible for every single parent to have that option”. Mr Bryant’s Bill was given an unopposed first reading but stands little chance of becoming law due to a lack of parliamentary time.