Alison McGovern MP responds to Karin Smyth’s article Beyond the rhetoric
Karin Smyth’s piece demonstrates why caring has become so political. As Labour campaigners, we applaud the love and care shown by family carers, and by hardworking parents bringing up their kids. And we know that Labour has to meet the challenge of making sure families have time and space to care for each other, when most British people are working harder than ever to make ends meet.
That is why, as I have visited places from Lancaster to Croydon on my #25hours tour, there has been so much support for our plan to increase free childcare for three- and four-year-olds of working parents from 15 to 25 hours. We need to give families a boost, after five hard years. And supporting childcare this way, as families find it easier to work, will help the public finances too.
One change I have seen on my travels is the increased interest there is in our childcare policies from dads. It is not just mums who are now concerned about family finances given how the Tories have prioritised the better-off, it is dads too. And when one in three families who need childcare rely on a grandparent, that is grandad who is helping out as well. Childcare was once off the agenda as far as Westminster politics was concerned. And now it is on the agenda (thanks mainly to Labour women campaigners) it is men who are talking about it as well.
And, with progress on child poverty stalled under this government, following years of decreases under Labour, and the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission pronouncing the child poverty target 2020 as looking very challenging, the dedicated and hard-working staff at childcare providers have found themselves on the frontline of a renewed fight on this front.
So whether it is better childcare, fighting for a living wage for care staff, or wanting all family carers properly recognised as such by our public services, it is Labour which is now the party of the family. And until 7 May, we need to make sure every parent and carer hears that message, loud and clear.
Alison McGovern MP is shadow minister for children and families
Articles in the Britain 2020 series are all available to read on the Progress website
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