Lucy Powell, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Childcare and Children, will be visiting Leeds North West this Friday, 12 Sept. She will be in Otley at 12.45 p.m. visiting the Children’s Centre with Alex Sobel. Labour’s candidate in Leeds North West.MWP_PR_070314_WC1-03415.jpg.ashx

Lucy only entered Parliament in 2012, where she represents Manchester Central.
She was born in Manchester’s Moss Side, went to comprehensive school in Manchester, then on to study chemistry at university. Any similarity to Margaret Thatcher begins and ends there! She is one of several women who would be prominent in any incoming Labour government.

Lucy is one of the more than 30% of women Labour MPs, a far higher proportion than either the Tories or the LibDems. She was the first woman Labour MP elected for a Manchester constituency. [Here in Leeds, of course, we had Labour’s Alice Bacon elected as long ago as 1945!]

Lucy took over as shadow minister for Childcare and Children in October 2013. As a working mother with three children, she knows at first hand the problems of childcare provision in the UK.

In September last year she made an impassioned call for us to take childcare seriously
‘The case for free universal childcare should be seriously explored. The IPPR has shown that universal childcare – 25 hours of free childcare for children from one to four – would pay a return to the Exchequer of £20,050 over four years in terms of tax revenue minus the cost of childcare for every woman who returns to work full time after a year of maternity leave. Childcare investment would not only get our economy moving, it would also help the development of young children and begin to level the playing field between poorer children and their peers when they start school.’

She firmly believes there is an economic, educational – and social justice – case for extending childcare.

She has drawn attention to Labour’s proud record in this area.

‘During our time in office we put early years at the heart of government policy culminating in the creation of the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Labour’s legacy is imprinted on the fabric of our communities – Sure Start Children’s Centres providing support to all parents, the free early years entitlement giving three and four year olds a good start in life, work to professionalise and improve the pay and conditions of staff in the sector so we can raise the status of the profession and attract high quality staff in every setting.’

Only this week she responded to a British Chamber of Commerce call for a ‘step-change’ in British childcare.

‘The BCC is right to recognise how the soaring cost of childcare is adding to David Cameron’s cost-of-living crisis and the role business has in championing better childcare. Under David Cameron, childcare costs have risen by 30 per cent and early years places have plummeted, making it harder for families to find and afford childcare.

“Labour will expand free childcare for working parents with three and four year olds from 15 to 25 hours per week freeing mums trapped out of the labour market and helping families with the cost-of-living crisis. We’ll also introduce a Primary Childcare Guarantee to help parents manage before and after school care so they can better balance work and family life.”

Lucy will be delighted to visit Leeds, where the Labour Council has protected Sure Start/Children’s Centres.

We’ll be reporting more on her visit on Friday.

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