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Wales unlikely to mirror England childcare offer

The First Minister has not committed to providing free childcare for nine-month-olds up to two-year-olds, despite pressure from the Welsh Conservatives.

1 year ago 852 views

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The First Minister has not committed to providing free childcare for nine-month-olds up to two-year-olds, despite pressure from the Welsh Conservatives.

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In response to questions from the Welsh Conservative Party leader, Andrew RT Davies, in First Minister's Questions, Mark Drakeford MS said that Wales already has a "far more generous childcare offer" than England, and that the Welsh Government is committed to making childcare more affordable and accessible for families.

Mr Davies asked if the First Minister would commit to extending free childcare to nine-month-olds up to two-year-olds, following the UK Government's announcement of further childcare provision in the recent budget.

The First Minister said that the Welsh Government is "already making the investment" in childcare, and that it is "not the other way around" with England catching up to Wales.

He said that Wales already offers 30 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds for 48 weeks of the year, while England offers 38 weeks of the year.

The First Minister said that the Welsh Government is also expanding its Flying Start programme, which will provide free childcare to all two-year-olds in Wales in time.

He said that the Welsh Government is "committed to making childcare more affordable and accessible for families", and that it is "not the other way around" with England catching up to Wales.

The Welsh Government has been praised for its childcare offer, which is seen as one of the most generous in the UK. However, some families have said that they still cannot afford to use childcare, and that the offer is not enough.

The Welsh Government has said that it is working to make childcare more affordable and accessible, but that it needs to make sure that the offer is sustainable.

The Welsh Conservatives have said that they would like to see the Welsh Government go further and offer free childcare to all children under two years old.

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