Peers to look at the affordability of childcare

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The House of Lords has set up an inquiry to examine how pre-school childcare in England is funded.

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A House of Lords committee will examine whether funded hours, tax credits and subsidies are providing affordable childcare

The Select Committee on Affordable Childcare will investigate the affordability of childcare and the rationale for providing the free hours and subsidising childcare through taxpayers’ money.

The group of 12 peers appointed last month will also look at childcare policy, child development, whether state subsidies enable parents to work and how childcare is provided, funded and evaluated in other countries, including Scotland and Wales.

Announcing the call for evidence from experts in the sector, committee chair Lord Sutherland of Houndwood said the focus would be on childcare for children from birth to five and look at important questions at the heart of the current debate on childcare policy.

‘Thousands of parents all over the country struggle with decisions about childcare on a daily basis. However, with the Government subsidising childcare through free early education as well as tax credits and childcare vouchers, this isn’t just a matter for individual families.

‘We need to ask what is the purpose of the Government subsidising childcare – is it to address inequalities in child development, or to help parents get back to work? And are these aims being met? If not, could the money be spent better in other ways to achieve these outcomes.’

The deadline for written evidence is 15 August. The committee is expected to report in March next year.