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Newly re-elected Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, fresh from his victory over rebellious Labour MPs, is looking to reinvigorate his party with the help of a new childcare taskforce and a no nonsense mum.
Having won a Labour leadership election for the second time by picking up 61 per cent of votes cast to beat rival Owen Smith, Jeremy Corbyn is now setting out his stall for a united party that can win elections by focusing on improving the lot of families in Britain.
From his arsenal, Mr Corbyn has pulled out a straight talking ally in the form of Angela Raynor MP his shadow education secretary, who announced the childcare taskforce at the Labour party conference in Liverpool on 27 September. Angel Raynor said the taskforce aims “to transform early years provision for every family in the 21st century” and will give parents access to affordable childcare.
Abuse for getting pregnant at 16
Angela Raynor grew up on a council estate, got pregnant and left school at 16 and was told she would ‘never amount to anything’. She told delegates at the Labour conference that she had received abuse on social media for becoming pregnant as a teenager and has been questioned on her suitability for the job of shadow education secretary.
In her speech at the Labour conference she said: “Some of the Tories say, ‘she left school at 16, she doesn’t have a university degree, what does she know about education?’”
“I say, I may not have a degree – but I have a Masters in real life.
“I understand that every parent wants the best for their child because I want the best for my children too.
“And I tell you, as a Northern, working class mum, I won’t accept anything less for my children - and for your children.
“I left school at 16, pregnant, with no qualifications.
“Some may argue I was not a great role model for today’s young people.”
The former trade union official used her speech to attack the Conservative Party’s closure of 800 Sure Start centres which she said gave her a lifeline.
The MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, (elected in 2015), said: “The direction of my life was set but something happened.
“Labour’s Sure Start centres gave me and my friends, and our children, the help and support we needed to grow and develop. They changed the lives of three million children and their parents.”
She described the Conservative's decision to close the centres as “shutting the door in the faces of our children and their parents.”
She said: “Unlike the Tories, Labour will never turn our backs on our children and their families; never put political dogma before the ambition of every parent to do the very best for their child. Because excellent childcare changes lives for the better, as it did for my eldest son, for my two youngest boys, and for me.”
Labour's childcare taskforce will consult with early years experts and is to be chaired by Liz Snape, the deputy general secretary of the UK trade union giant Unison.
‘High quality childcare and early years learning is a driver for social mobility’
The MP said the childcare taskforce would give “care and support for every child to fulfil their potential, and to help parents back to work.”
“Access to affordable, high-quality childcare and early years learning is one of the most effective drivers of social mobility. Getting it right will improve the life chances of countless children across the country.”
Megan Jarvie, head of policy and public affairs at the Family and Childcare Trust (FACT), said: “The current Government's record in investment recognises the importance of high quality childcare.
“However, too many families struggle to access childcare that boosts children's outcomes and fits with parents’ working hours and pay packets. Childcare is part of our infrastructure: we need to make sure it works for children, parents, and society as a whole.”
Kate Fitch, head of public policy for national disability charity, Sense, said: “We welcome the news that the Labour Party intends to set up a taskforce specifically looking at access to childcare and early years provision, as it signals a recognition of the important role that these factors play in ensuring that children have the best start in life.
“With a new funding formula for early years set to be announced, it is imperative that both the Government and opposition urgently start working towards levelling the playing field for disabled children, which is why we look forward to working with Labour’s early years taskforce to ensure that all children have the chance to fulfil their potential.”