Training budgets for nursery staff have been slashed by 40 per cent, according to the Daily Mail, as ministers scramble to secure a deal on cutting crippling childcare bills. This is from the Daily Mail…
David Cameron and Nick Clegg last night failed to agree a deal on giving more help with the cost of looking after their children, including offering tax breaks to working parents and tearing up red-tape for nurseries and childminders.
But new figures reveal councils across England have dramatically cut funding budgets to train new childcare staff, undermining hopes of a massive expansion in the sector to reduce costs.
Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg, who obtained the figures, said parents are ‘rightly frightened’ at the prospect of the quality of care being hit.
In an article for MailOnline, he also warned that plans to copy the French system where staff can look after eight children at once – up from four in the UK – will fail to reduce costs.
‘Cameron needs to make sure he doesn’t repeat the same mistakes he’s already made – he could make the right choices and improve the childcare system for parents but the real fear is that their plans will cause collateral damage: cutting the quality of childcare,’ Mr Twigg writes.
He urged the government to follow the Sweden childcare system which ‘gives parents choice, affordability and good quality places’.
But education minister Liz Truss hit back, saying the Swedish system has no ratio rules at all.
‘Stephen Twigg has today exposed Labour’s total opportunism and incoherence on childcare.
‘He starts by attacking the idea of loosening staff: child ratios but in the next breath he says we should move to the Swedish system – where they have no compulsory ratios at all.
‘Either he is deliberately pulling the wool over people’s eyes, or he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
‘After thirteen years in power, Labour left behind a childcare system where parents faced the highest costs of any major country besides Switzerland and staff were paid barely more than the minimum wage.
‘The fact he has made such a basic error proves you can’t trust Labour on childcare.’