Childcare reform to help parents back to work

THE GOVERNMENT will today unveil plans to reform the childcare system in an attempt to reduce the financial burden on families and help parents return to the workplace.

Education minister Liz Truss will announce that the number of children allowed to be managed by one member of nursery staff will rise from four to six. She will also insist that childminders are better qualified, in attempt to push up standards across the industry.

However more radical plans to reform the system by offering childcare tax breaks of up to £2,000 – originally due to be announced this month – have been delayed until at least the March Budget following a Whitehall row over the cost of the scheme.

“It is right that the government does everything it can to ensure the provision delivering early education is of the highest quality, staff are paid better, and childcare is affordable to parents,” Truss said of today’s announcement.

She will also announce plans to set up agencies who will take care of “business practicalities” on behalf of childminders. In addition, rules on changeovers will be relaxed, so parents are not obliged to wait if another mother or father is late to pick up their child.