The view from Parliament: 'Childcare is fundamental to our society and economy'

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq is fighting against the points immigration system.

Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn - Credit: Chris McAndrew/Creative Commons

Childcare is absolutely fundamental to our society and economy. It allows parents, and particularly women, to enter the workforce, and the early years education that nurseries and childminders provide is essential to give our children the best start in life.

Yet we have the third most expensive childcare system in the world and many parents are unable to find or afford childcare. The Conservative Government has constituently failed to fund the childcare sector properly and have instead driven up the cost to parents. This decade of underfunding has pushed many nurseries, childminders and other early years providers to the brink of collapse.

There was very little support available for essential childcare services throughout the pandemic which, combined with this chronic underfunding, has resulted in the closure of nearly 3,000 providers in the first half of this year alone. This is a disaster for families.

As Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, I spoke in a debate on childcare funding and affordability in Parliament this week following a petition that was signed by over 100,000 people around the country, including 400 of my constituents in Hampstead and Kilburn.

I have been putting pressure on the Government to provide targeted support to save early years and wraparound childcare providers from closure and rethink the funding for the sector. For the sake of the parents who rely on childcare and the children whose life chances are shaped by high-quality early education, I will continue to fight for the Government to prioritise this and fund it properly.