Wokingham petitioners help force Childcare vouchers debate in parliament

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The Houses of Parliament

WOKINGHAM parents who signed a petition on changes to childcare vouchers have helped generate a parliamentary debate on the issue.

Taking place on Monday, January 15, the debate explores the motion that  “hundreds of thousands of parents will lose out under the new tax-free childcare” system and urging that the voucher schemes be kept open alongside tax-free childcare.

Constituents from the Wokingham ward represented by MP John Redwood have been the fourth biggest signatory to the campaign: 493 people added their names to the petition.

Catherine McKinnell MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, will lead the debate which is scheduled to start at 4.30pm.

Ahead of the debate the Labour MP for Newcastle North said: “Increasing the availability of affordable childcare is a key issue for many of Britain’s families. It is also absolutely critical for our economy and productivity levels, as well as tackling issues such as inequality and child poverty.

“How the Government chooses to support this aim – and the systems through which childcare support is delivered to families – are therefore very important, and this timely debate will address whether Ministers have got this right ahead of the changes in April.”

The debate was scheduled after the petition was signed by around 116,000 people across the UK, and therefore considered for debate by the House of Commons Petitions Committee.  

Responding to the petition, the Government have said they are “investing more in childcare than ever before” adding that “tax free childcare is one part of that childcare support and is fairer and better targeted than vouchers.”

John Redwood, MP for Wokingham, told The Wokingham Paper: “The government is offering tax free childcare for all under £100,000 a year of income. It is also providing 30 hours free childcare for three and four-year-olds, and improving provision for those on Universal Credit.

“This is in accordance with the Manifesto.

“The vouchers are not available to the self employed or to those working for employers who do not operate the system. The aim is to provide more for more people under the changes.”

The debate will last for up to three hours. Although a government minister will respond, there won’t be a vote. It can be watched live on parliamentlive.tv

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