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Is the Coalition Government preparing for new battles over childcare?

Article By: Richard Howard

Earning credit for political decisions seems to be an ever more complicated task in the current climate, with no issue sacrosanct from the venom of opposing parties regardless of whether recent times had seen them become the subject of doubt.

One area in which the recently departed Labour Government never seemed to fall from grace during its time in power was in the area of child poverty, which figures showed to have reduced significantly since the mid-1990s – a fact party members often cite as one of its proudest achievements. However, it has turned out that even this achievement is not immune to being tested for fragility, as the economic reputation that fell before it, after the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched an astonishing attack upon Labour’s record, claiming that 'under Labour child poverty in the UK increased'.

The statement has been ridiculed by many within the Labour party as misleading, but more importantly for professionals of the day nursery and other childcare sectors than which party has the most acute wisdom on such issues, is the realisation that the Coalition Government will look to champion its own ideas on childcare and early years education without being intimidated by its predecessor’s record.

It could of course be suggested that the impending public sector cuts, that will no doubt prove the driving force of political debate throughout the course of this Parliament, would have forced the Government’s hands on favouring new ideas and developments anyway. However, after Nick Clegg’s attack, it seems clear now that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will attempt to fight this battle upon ideology, as opposed to necessity.

We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any developments or announcements that may impact upon the day nursery sector.


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