A 2018 study by Loughborough University found the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 to be £150,753. Since the Labour Party promised in 1999 to end child poverty by 2020, the quality and cost of childcare has been a consistent feature in the political landscape. This policy is the Conservative Party’s latest pledge in this area.
In August 2017 the government began national roll-out of their policy of 30 hours of free childcare for 3- and 4-year-olds of working families. The government also expanded this to include 15 hours of free childcare for 2-year-olds. This was all meant to help working families, particularly low-income working families.
According to the Department for Education, 390,000 families are eligible for the 30 hours of free childcare, saving them an estimated £5,000 per year.
While there are signs that the provision of childcare for working families has been delivered, this policy pledge also promises “high-quality” childcare, which is more difficult to assess. There isn’t a universally accepted definition of what constitutes “high-quality childcare”, so we will ask the government for their metric and consult with independent organisations in the field before delivering our final verdict. In the meantime, this policy is certainly ‘in progress’. Stay tuned for updates.
- Cost of raising a child falls but many parents still struggle to meet the threshold – Loughborough University
- The politics of childcare – Prospect
- Views sought on early years education for disadvantaged children – Gov.uk
- 30 hours free childcare launches – Gov.uk