6 March 2015

Lambeth & Southwark Childcare Commission

As Southwark's Cabinet Member for Childcare and Schools I warmly welcomed this week's report of the Lambeth and Southwark Childcare Commission, chaired by Dame Tessa Jowell MP. Like our neighbours in Lambeth, we are firmly committed to giving every child the best start in life and helping parents find affordable, accessible and quality childcare. This report acknowledges the challenges faced by local families but sets out a range of options that could be used to tackle these by the Mayor of London, central government, local authorities and employers. There is no one solution to deal with the many problems parents in London face trying to get back to work while managing the burdens and prohibitive costs of childcare. The Council no doubt has a role to play in stepping up to deliver the options set out in the report but we also need to 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.

The report recommends that both councils look into the idea of a childcare matchmaking service, which would pair qualified childminders with parents who are looking for childcare on a flexible basis. It 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. One further suggestion is for Transport for London to consider offering new parents discounted transport fares to help make going back to work affordable, or 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 challenges the Government to 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.
 
I look forward to discussing these recommendations and many others with colleagues across Southwark and Lambeth in the coming weeks. I am determined that together we can make childcare work better for families, better for children and better for our communities. 

The full report can be read here.


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