Childcare costs are forcing Eastwood parents to quit jobs

Shadow women and equalities minister Gloria de Piero addresses the Labour Party annual conference in Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 21, 2014. Large firms will be required to publish the average salary of men and women across every level of their organisation as part of Labour efforts to deliver equal pay. See PA story LABOUR Pay. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Shadow women and equalities minister Gloria de Piero addresses the Labour Party annual conference in Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 21, 2014. Large firms will be required to publish the average salary of men and women across every level of their organisation as part of Labour efforts to deliver equal pay. See PA story LABOUR Pay. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Every child needs a good school and every parent deserves the security of knowing that their young one will be taught by a qualified teacher in a classroom that isn’t overcrowded.

Successful teaching and classroom discipline is made harder when classes are too big.

Under this Government’s watch the number of the youngest children taught in classes larger than 30 has trebled.

Local parents and children deserve better. The next Labour Government will introduce a cap so class sizes for 5, 6 and 7 year-olds don’t rise above 30 for more than 12 months.

We’ll pay for it by ending the current Government’s practice of creating Free Schools in areas where there’s no shortage of school places.

Supporting families in Eastwood has to be a priority. A new survey commissioned by a family charity found that one in five parents have reduced the hours they work or considered giving up work altogether due to high childcare costs.

It’s a story I regularly hear from local parents. Under the current Government, the problem is getting worse. Childcare costs are up by 30% and the number of places has fallen.

We need change, which is why I’ve thrown my weight behind plans to expand free childcare from 15 to 25 hours per week for working parents of three and four year-olds.

Labour will also introduce a legal guarantee of access to breakfast and after school clubs from 8am to 6pm through their local school.

Finally, as I was flicking through my copy of the Advertiser the other day I couldn’t help but smile at one lovely story following the celebrations which took place at Brinsley Parish Hall to mark the 40th anniversary of Brinsley Women’s Fellowship Group and its oldest member Dorothy Wilbraham who turned 100 a few days ago.

By all accounts Dorothy is a truly remarkable lady and well respected in the community and I’m sure everyone would agree that she’s an inspiration to us all after reaching 100 and still being so active.

I sent Dorothy a special birthday card from the Houses of Parliament to wish her well on her landmark day and when I was tracking down her postal address, local lady and fellow group member, Molly Quigley, couldn’t speak highly enough of her and described her as a ‘fabulous woman’.

So here’s to many more happy returns to a fabulous woman!