Labour ridiculed over nursery places plan by Miriam Cates | Politics | News

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Labour ridiculed over nursery places plan by Miriam Cates | Politics | News

Labour has been mocked for “taking babies off their mothers” with plans to create thousands more nursery places – with one Tory MP adding that the Opposition has “absolutely no idea” how the move will be funded.

Sir Keir Starmer’s party is reportedly looking at creating new nursery places inside primary schools to help parents manage childcare while they return to work.

But Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge and a leading member of the New Conservatives group, likened it to children being “handed over to the state so mummy and daddy can get back to the critical national endeavour of generating GDP”.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, she added: “Has anyone asked if this is best for children? Why do politicians view children as a hindrance to the economy rather than the ultimate source of productivity?”

She suggested that increasing nursery places was the wrong answer to the problem, saying: “The reason parents have to re-enter the workforce so quickly is because taxes and housing costs are so high.

“So instead of spending billions taking babies off their mothers … spend it on tax cuts and cheap housing for families so parents can choose how to care for their children.

“If we’re really interested in productivity growth we should be investing in families, not trying to squeeze every last drop of short-term GDP ‘contribution’ out of parents.”

Fellow Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith replied: “This on top of the fact they [Labour] have absolutely no idea where the extra staff or capacity will come from, how it will be funded (magic tax on non-doms again?) or the devastating effect it will have on the private, voluntary and independent sector.”

Asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain where the money for an increase in childcare would come from, Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Attorney General, said: “That’s why we need to have a proper review at the moment.

“One thing that I can say to you is that anything we announce will be properly funded and we won’t be announcing anything that the country cannot afford.”

She also said that “young people have really suffered” because of the loss of Sure Start centres across the country, which were opened during the last Labour government but cut back under the subsequent coalition and Conservative administrations.

“It wasn’t just about childcare, it was also about educating parents, it was about giving them support,” she said.

“It was about supporting families and it really made a difference to people.”

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