Minister visits Custom House to help launch free childcare scheme

Employment minister Priti Patel meets a youngster at the Edith Kerrison Nursery School

Employment minister Priti Patel meets a youngster at the Edith Kerrison Nursery School - Credit: Archant

Parents in Newham are set to benefit from 30 hours of free childcare each week from September.

The borough is one of eight areas in England to pilot the scheme, which doubles the existing number of free hours available to working parents of three and four-year-olds.

Employment minister Priti Patel visited Edith Kerrison Nursery School in Custom House to find out how the pilot will help parents struggling with the cost of childcare.

She said: “I was delighted to visit Edith Kerrison Nursery School and hear how hardworking parents in Newham will benefit from 30 hours of free childcare, which will be delivered in the area a year ahead of the national rollout.

“This government is committed to helping hardworking families and supporting them on their journey to employment.”

The pilot scheme will cost £13million across the eight areas and comes a year ahead of schedule.

Announcing the investment on Tuesday last week, education secretary Nicky Morgan said: “For too long, rising childcare costs have been a barrier preventing parents and particularly mothers from working.

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“That’s why I’m delighted that in just a few months’ time, we will see the first families benefitting from the government’s offer of 30 hours’ free childcare for working parents.

“We have made a commitment to help working people, and through this extended offer we will help thousands more parents who want to return to work to do so.”

The government will also be looking at the issues that make it difficult for parents to access childcare, such as special educational needs and disabilities.

The additional 15 hours of childcare is available for families where both parents, or the sole parent, is earning at least the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum or living wage but less than £100,000 a year.