Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, slammed the government for extensive cuts to nursery provisions in the South West, following a slew of recent closures.
Mrs Hobhouse joined a Westminster Hall debate on the 6th of February to call for greater support for nurseries across the South West, especially in Bath. This comes after two nurseries in Bath were forced to shut their doors last year, leaving parents scrambling for childcare alternatives.
The Bath MP emphasised that the UK is home to one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world, with costs continuing to rise. She criticised the government for failing to properly fund nurseries, leaving them on the brink of crisis. Excessive staff shortages combined with rising costs of rent mean that many nurseries are left with no choice but to close. Mrs Hobhouse said that this could have a detrimental effect on children being able to reach their full potential.
Wera Hobhouse slammed the government for missing out on huge long-term benefits to the economy by failing the early years childcare sector. She noted that the first 1001 days are the most important for a child’s development and that nurseries provide essential early education. She also pointed out that early years childcare is vital for closing the attainment gap for children from low-income families, as well as for enabling mothers to go back to work. Mrs Hobhouse said that without more adequate support for nurseries, many mothers would be forced to choose between caring for their children and their careers.
Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, commented: “It is vital we get early years education right so that children can achieve their full potential. For too long, the government has cut corners at children’s expense, rather than properly fund early years provision. Now nurseries are paying the price, being forced to shut their doors on desperate parents.
“The costs of childcare in the UK are eye-watering. Parents in Bath are turning to credit cards, borrowing money or getting into debt in order to afford increasing nursery costs. No one should be pushed into poverty for starting a family, but the Conservatives have made this a sad reality.”