This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
The shadow chancellor Ed Balls has promised in his Labour conference speech in Brighton that if the Labour party comes in power after the general election 2015 they will allow working parents to have 25 hours a week of free childcare for children aged three and four.
Mr. Balls has guaranteed to increase the current 15 hours of free care with an extra 10 hours per week for families in which both partners work, or when the parent in a single parent family works to be funded by an £800 million hike in the bank levy rate to aid working families in beating the cost of living crisis. This increased free childcare allowance would permit parents to create a better balance between their children and working lives.
Mr. Balls has also cautioned that if Labour returns to power in 2015, it will have to show “iron discipline” on tax and spending, keeping the coalition Government’s cap on benefits, stripping winter fuel allowance from the richest pensioners and not reversing the decision to withdraw child benefit from wealthy households.
The shadow chancellor has also revealed to review the future of High Speed 2 scheme to build a new rail link between London, the Midlands and the north of England, suggesting that the potential £50 billion price-tag might be better spent elsewhere, as he would not offer a “blank cheque” to HS2.
Mr. Ball’s move to give working parents extra free childcare allowance per week for any children aged three and four was dismissed as a “stunt”.
Conservative Sajid Javid, also released a Treasury officials’ analysis advising that Labour promises would require more than £1,000 extra borrowing per household in 2015.
Mr. Javid has said: “Ed Balls knows this is not allowed under the Budget Responsibility Act and the OBR’s Charter, so this is just a stunt to try and distract attention from the fact that Labour have been found out for making unfunded commitments that would just mean more borrowing and more debt.
“Nothing has changed – it’s the same old Labour. Ed Balls and Ed Miliband still want more spending, more borrowing and more debt – exactly how they got us into a mess in the first place.”
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