Better childcare and more family life wins MP's support

March 5, 2009 11:22 AM

A call for the government to strengthen family life by giving parents more opportunity to work part-time and improving good quality child care has won the backing of Cambridge MP David Howarth.

He supports the belief that families often struggle to balance work and family life and fathers have only limited leave from their jobs, giving them few opportunities to form a relationship with their newborn children.

Mr Howarth is supporting a motion, before the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in Harrogate on Sunday, which recognises that many parents would welcome the opportunity to work part-time. The complicated system of working tax credits, however, and limited free childcare makes this an unattractive option.

He said: "We must put families first. Present childcare provision is far from ideal; it often fails to fit round a family's needs and makes it difficult for fathers to look after their young children.

"In this present economic climate, more parents are looking to go back to work or training to bring in extra money and they can only achieve that if they can find good, flexible and affordable childcare."

Party members and supporters will be urged to back a plan to offer 19 months of parental leave to be shared between new parents to allow fathers to play a fuller role with a new baby and extending free childcare provision.

The role of Children's Centres should also be expanded to provide more outreach to families who find it hard to access services, conference will be told.

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