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There are 6,000 nurseries in Britain.
Only 240 of them are run on a ‘not for profit’ basis.
On average the cost of pre-school childcare for two children is £6,000 per year, more than the average family spends on housing.
Childcare in Britain is the least regulated, hardest to obtain and most expensive of any country in the European Union.
Lack of decent childcare means that increasing numbers of parents, in particular women, do not have the choice of going out to work.
Others are forced to rely on unqualified child carers.
New Labour’s solution has been to introduce the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and some parents are able to struggle through with this, but it doesn’t cover the full cost of childcare, assuming it exists in the first place.
In total, the government spends around £5 million a year on helping pay for childcare via the CTC.
This provides a minimal level of help but much more is needed.
New Labour has recently promised more money for nurseries, but these will not be publicly owned.
Instead of handing money over to private nurseries, it would make far more sense to spend the money building and directly funding free, publicly-owned nurseries, after-school and holiday clubs, with fully qualified, decently paid staff.