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Southwark and Lambeth childcare report shows help needed for new parents

04 March 2015
Childcare commission Southwark and Lambeth have launched a joint Childcare Commission report, which makes a series of recommendations to make it easier for new parents to return to work.

Before the election in May, Southwark Labour pledged to find real long term solutions to the growing
problem of unaffordable childcare through a joint Southwark and Lambeth affordable childcare commission. 

The commission, chaired by Dame Tessa Jowell MP, brought together experts, parents and providers to find new ways to guarantee care and early education to help for parents and carers who are struggling to balance work and family life in a 24 hour economy.

The Childcare Commission report, launched today, produces a series of recommendations to make it easier for new parents to return to work. The report acknowledges that the Mayor of London, central government, local authorities and employers all have a part to play in tackling the childcare crisis facing
new parents in the capital.

The report recommends that both Southwark and Lambeth councils look into the idea of a childcare matchmaking service, which would pair qualified childminders with parents who are looking for childcare on a more flexible basis than that offered by nurseries. The report also recommends that the councils consider incentivising local employers to set up workplace nurseries, possibly by discounting business rates or brokering deals with childcare providers.

Another recommendation in the report is for Transport for London to consider offering new parents discounted transport fares to help make going back to work affordable, and for the Mayor of London to look into the feasibility of providing an interest-free loan scheme so that parents can pay any upfront childcare costs.

The report also recommends that the Government change their funding of early years development, pooling the education, early years and childcare budgets to take a 0-18 approach recognising that early intervention can save money in the long-term.
Leader of Southwark council, Cllr Peter John, said: "There is no one solution that can deal with the many, seemingly insurmountable problems new parents in London face trying to get back to work while managing the burdens and prohibitive costs of childcare.  However this report offers a series of ideas and exciting options that we must - and will - consider. We will work with parents, businesses and the mayor in open partnership to create a city that embraces parenthood and creates a world of opportunity for all our children."

Dame Tessa Jowell, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, said: "We all want to know that our children are well looked after when we can’t be there - and we don’t want it to cost the earth.  It’s something that every parent worries about it; a seemingly simple need but with few simple solutions.  Making sure that every child has a chance is how we as a society unleash the possibility of equality.  Parents have to be free to work whilst raising their families; children have to be given the nurturing environment they need to grow. This report presents a serious set of recommendations to make childcare in Lambeth and Southwark better for families, better for children, better for our communities – and I am proud to support it."

The report is available online here.


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