Successive governments have failed women – who undertake the majority of unpaid or underpaid childcare work. Instead of investing in diverse accessible nursery settings, and their workforce, they have relied on the market to provide, which, along with underfunding, has now lead to the current childcare crisis.
The 2023 Budget announcements, with promise of expanded 30 hours entitlements, will compound this and further entrench disadvantage. We are pleased that the following motion for Labour Party conference 2023, was supported by Momentum and the Hackney east Central Socialist Education Association.
In 2021 a motion calling for an ‘urgent conditional bailout of the [Early Years] sector (including childminders)’ alongside reform with ‘changes to funding so settings get direct payment from DfE (as schools do)’ was passed at the Labour Party Women’s Conference. The current Shadow Cabinet however have not committed to this, or the demands below. Keir Starmer has said he will not abolish the two child cap, despite ongoing and rising child poverty.
Please email: PostPandemicChildcare@gmail.com if you'd like support drafting a motion for your political party or union conference. The below motion was 250 words to fit Labour Party rules.
Early Years – value childcare workers and let every child access quality early years education and care
Increased child poverty and the growing disadvantage gap.
That the UK has the third most expensive childcare internationally, while the workforce is among the
The closure of 1,000 Sure Start centres since 2010.
The increasing dominance of nursery super-chains which pay low wages and are themselves at risk of
Conservative childcare plans which further deregulate and reduce access to quality early years
support for all children, and Tory promises to expand ‘free’ childcare entitlements which will in reality
provide billions of pounds in subsidies to private companies.
Ongoing and expected losses of public and quality community nurseries, due to the underfunding of
Conference calls on the next Labour Government to commit to:
Universal public early years services with national pay scales.
Preventing further closures of quality nurseries and childminders, and increasing democratic
accountability, through conditional direct funding – ensuring real living wage, affordable accessible
places, and with no profits to shareholders.
Taking private chains into public ownership if they collapse.
Reinstating and expanding Sure Start across the country to create a truly universal service – enabling
early identification and support for additional needs, domestic abuse.
Protecting Maintained Nursery Schools.
Extending and establishing Council-run EYFS education and care nationally.
Reversing increased ratios for 2 year olds.
Ending the two-child cap.
Stopping exploitation of migrant nannies and au pairs, scrapping the “family worker” exemption.*
Addressing unpaid care: Increase and extend statutory parental pay. Reverse new conditionality for
parents on universal credit. End means-testing and increase Child Benefit.
*The Government agreed to scrap the exemption in March 2022, but still hasn't announced a timescale.
Images: 'Childcare workers have rights too!', Labour's Charter for the Under Fives, circa.1992, under Neil Kinnock, is more progressive than their current policy. This pamphlet was found in Helen Penn's archives, Bishopsgate Institute, during the Grow your Own project – a collaboration between Post Pandemic Childcare and On the Record https://on-the-record.org.uk/projects/grow-your-own/