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Guest Post; Alison McGovern, Lab Shadow Minister, Children & Families

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Below is a guest post from Alison McGovern, the Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Children and Families and MP for Wirral South. In the post, the Shadow Minister outlines various polices Labour would implement to improve family life. This includes improved paternity leave, increased childcare and capped school places.

This is the second of several features from various political parties I plan to publish on the run up to the General Election. The first post I published was from the Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister Jo Swinson and can be read here.

Alison McGovern
Alison McGovern, Labour Shadow Minister for Children and Families.

Our vision for Britain is a country where working dads and mums can succeed, both in their careers, and in having a good family life with their kids.

We know the Tories have failed over the past 5 years, because working parents are finding it harder, not easier.

The recovery hasn’t reached families. Working mums and dads are now £1,600 a year worse off than in 2010, and too many face difficult choices about how to balance work and family life. Childcare costs are up by over a third, before and after school clubs have been cut, and childcare places are harder to find.

We also know that lots of dads want to play a hands-on role with childcare, particularly in the first few weeks of a child’s life, but two weeks of paternity leave is just not enough time, and £138 is just not enough to live on.

That’s why Labour will help dads who want to spend more time at home in those first precious weeks. We will double paid paternity leave from two to four weeks, so dads can spend more time at home; and we will raise paternity pay by more than £100 to at least £260 a week, so that more dads can afford to make use of their entitlement.

And when children get a little older, we want to make sure parents can afford to go back to work if they want to. But families are spending £1,533 more on childcare than they did five years ago. As a result, seven out of ten mums who want to go back to work can’t afford to. This means they are worse off in the long term, and career options are more limited than they should be.

That’s why Labour will offer working parents of three and four-year-olds an extra ten hours of free childcare a week, up from 15 to 25 hours. And to help parents of primary-age children to fit work around the school run, we will guarantee access to before and after school childcare through every primary school.

But other issues affect family life. Many worry that the NHS is going backwards, that school standards are being undermined and that the next generation will find life tough.

So, we will invest in and improve our NHS to ensure it has enough doctors and nurses with time to care, with 8,000 more GPs and 20,000 more nurses funded by a mansion tax, and a guarantee of GP appointments within 48 hours.

Education is a vital investment in our country’s future. So we will cap class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds, guarantee an apprenticeship to every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and cut university tuition fees to £6,000. And we will help families move on by building 200,000 new homes a year by 2020 and give first choice on new homes to local first-time buyers.

Families need security at work, and the chance to get on. They need public services they can rely on, and that help the next generation excel. That’s the future Labour will build.

Super Busy Mum

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

The Dad Network

19 thoughts on “Guest Post; Alison McGovern, Lab Shadow Minister, Children & Families”

  1. Am I the only one finding it impossible to know who to vote for in the coming election?! I have felt so let down by all the big parties. I also think it’s even harder when you live in Wales and a lot of the ministers don’t clarify what relates to the whole of the country and what is just relevant to England (ie, the free childcare). The paternity one is interesting. All the parties talk about it, but what is really needed is better education programmes among businesses – I know so many dads who were pretty much told they were not allowed to take the two weeks off, despite the laws on this. It was really frowned upon, so I can only imagine what those same businesses will make of four weeks. Good on you for running this series though and covering issues relevant to families. #mmwbh

    1. Let me assure you that yo uare not the only person wondering who to vote for! This is the first general election in my lifetime where every single vote will count.

      I’m very dismayed top hear of the experiences of the fathers you know. When I worked I was fortunate to be employed by felxible organisations so never faced these issues. Unfortunately I think these attitudes are all too common.

  2. Really interesting post, I am also a little “on the fence” on who to vote for because we are promised so much and either never see it or when they are in parliament it becomes completely unaffordable. In your post above I see alot of money being spent to make services better…. but I am now left wondering how they will claim this money as it’ll come out of our pockets another way! Thanks for sharing #MMWBH

    1. Glad you found the post interesting Bex. You defo have a point; an awful lot is being promised. I just hope it can all be afforded for whichever party / parties win!

  3. Thanks for sharing this, John. With all the other issues to cover during the campaign, it’s interesting to see the various policies outlined and discussed in a little more detail here.

  4. Emily M Morgan

    This is very interesting. As an Australian, obviously I can’t comment on feeling about these policies in the UK but I find it interesting to note that government paid parental leave in the UK is set at a fixed rate. Here I believe it is a percentage of your salary, capped at a certain amount. Any additional leave for dads is to be welcomed, though I still think that UK and Aus governments lag far behind certain other countries in terms of what is considered appropriate leave for both dads and mums.

  5. Loving these policies! I’m a fence sitter but think you may have swayed me. The paternity pay was so pants my husband took annual leave instead this time, thanks for sharing. I’d much rather read a brief breakdown of the policies that matter to me as a parent that trawl through endless leader debates. #bigfatlinky

    1. The paternity pay policy is a very interresting one. It’s the one thing that seems to have marked Labour out as different from the other parties and I can see this being very popular. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Really interesting post here. Each party seems to be promoting different aspects of similar lines. It’s because of this that I’m struggling for the first time with who yo vote for. There’s definitely groups that I know that I don’t want to vote for. Bit there’s two or three that have and raise very valid policies.

    Lab education is really intriguing to me. I love the cap in classes in primary. This will benefit staff and children. But the apprenticeship for school leavers with basic grades seems highly far fetched and can’t see how they would be able to offer it. That being said the fact that education is playing a heavy part in their policies as well as the key features of Dads and parental leave makes it a difficult decision.

    Loving these post as they show a clear cut approach to what they’re suggesting rather than trying to read between the lines of debates or long listed campaigns.

    Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky

    1. I’m glad you are liking these posts Martyn. Also glad that you find this one interesting. This election is going to be really, really interesting. Some of the possible outcomes terrify me so I’m relying on the British public to me sensible when they put a cross in that box.

  7. Pingback: Guest post; Samantha Pancheri, Green Party Schools Spokesperson | Dad Blog UKGuest post; Samantha Pancheri, Green Party Schools Spokesperson - Dad Blog UK

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