Around 1,800 two-year-olds in Southwark are eligible for free childcare from September, under new rules brought in by the Liberal Democrats in government.
Previously around 20 per cent of two-year-olds qualified, but that is now up to 40 per cent and each is entitled to 15 hours of free childcare.
To celebrate the launch of this initiative Simon Hughes visited the Bosco Centre Nursery on Jamaica Road with Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat Minister of State for Care and Support.
“Helping out local parents with free childcare is a vital part of giving every child the best possible start in life," said Simon.
"I am glad that there are 1,800 children in Southwark who will benefit from this change. That would not have happened without the Liberal Democrats in government.
“However, we want to go even further. We have a long term plan to give 20 hours of free childcare to all children aged between two and four years.”
Under Liberal Democrat plans all children aged between two and four years would receive 20 hours per week, while children between the ages of 9 and 24 would receive the free childcare if both parents are in work.
This policy would be funded in part by scrapping the Conservative’s plans to introduce a tax break for some married couples.
To be eligibile for the current 15 hours of free childcare you must be getting one of the following:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190
- the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
- Working Tax Credits and earn £16,190 a year or less
Children are also entitled to a place if:
- they’re looked after by a local council
- they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan
- they get Disability Living Allowance