London mayor unveils childcare strategy for capital

Mayor
of London Ken Livingstone has unveiled his strategy to try and improve
childcare provision in the capital.

He
pledged to use the planning system to increase the supply of affordable
childcare in London and to encourage employers to offer more flexible and
child-friendly working.

The
new strategy acknowledges government efforts to improve access to affordable childcare
through the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), but the mayor wants to see
improvements in the benefit system to reflect higher living costs in London.

The mayor
already has policies in the draft London Plan, which seek to increase the
provision of affordable childcare as part of planning obligation agreements,
and intends to produce supplementary planning guidance that will include advice
on securing childcare facilities.

Livingstone
is also supporting the development of a pan-London childcare website and will
produce a guide for parents on childcare choices in the capital.

He is
supporting the creation of a forum for meetings of the London Early Years
Development and Childcare Partnerships to develop and monitor issues raised by
the childcare strategy.

Speaking
at Capitalwoman, the third annual conference for women in London, he said:
“Ultimately I believe that sustained public funding will be essential to
ensuring equal access to childcare for families in all income groups. In
conjunction with the London Development Agency I will be consulting widely over
the next few months on the availability and affordability of childcare for
lower income households in the capital.”

By
Ben Willmott

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