On Thursday 11 January, during Women and Equalities questions, I asked the government to produce an assessment of the economic impact of the value of comprehensive childcare provision, and particularly the impact on gender equality.
I was proud to stand for election last year on a Labour manifesto that promised to redress the chronic under funding of childcare that the Tories have presided over in government. Our manifesto promised to extend the provision of 30 hours of free childcare to all two-year-olds. We would also overhaul the existing funding system which is hard for parents to navigate and results in patchy provision.
Comprehensive childcare is not only important for those vital early years. We also know that when parents can’t access childcare, it is difficult for women in particular to be able to return to work at the end of maternity leave.
I’m pleased that the minister was receptive to the idea of carrying out an economic impact assessment. I have already written to him to ask for a meeting and to persuade him to do so.
Will the Government carry out an economic impact assessment on the value of investing in a comprehensive childcare provision across the country, in particular looking at the impact on women and gender equality?
Mel Stride (Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
As I said earlier, we already carry out a wide variety of different impact assessments, including in the kind of area to which the hon. Lady alludes. If she would like to write to me with further details of the exact aspects she is interested in, I would be very happy to consider them.
You can watch the exchange here: