Jeremy Hunt defends the speed of his childcare budget giveaway as ‘the biggest transformation of my life’ | Politics News

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has defended the rapid rollout of his free childcare budget offer for working parents, describing it as the “biggest childcare transformation of my life”.

The new childcare package will allow working families access to 30 hours of free childcare per week for children aged nine months to four years, where all adults in the household work a minimum of 16 hours .

The policy previously only applied to parents of three- and four-year-olds.

But the program won’t come into effect until 2024, and the start date could fall after the next general election.

Budget news – latest: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt speaks to Sky News

Asked by Sky News’ Jayne Secker about the speed of action, Mr Hunt defended his plans, saying: “This is the biggest childcare transformation of my life.

“It’s a huge change and we’re going to need thousands more crèches, thousands more schools offering services they don’t currently offer, thousands more nannies.

“We are moving as quickly as possible to increase supply in the market.”

The free childcare offer for working parents will be available for those with two-year-old children from April 2024, covering around half a million parents, but it will initially be limited to 15 hours.

From September 2024, the 15-hour offer will be extended to children from nine months, helping almost a million parents in total, and the full 30-hour offer to all under-fives will come to from September 2025.

The Chancellor said it was ‘the right thing to do because we have one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world’.

He added: “We know that’s something that’s a huge worry, for women in particular, that they have that cliff edge when maternity leave ends after nine months, no help until until the child is three years old and that can often end his career.

“So I think it’s the right thing to do for a lot of women, to introduce these reforms and we’re introducing them as quickly as possible because we want to remove these barriers to work.”

Learn more:
Pints, child support and pensions: the 2023 budget in brief
2023 budget calculator: See if you’re better off or worse off
Labor will roll back ‘tax cut for the rich’ pension reform if they win next election

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