This week Ed Miliband announced that the next Labour Government will introduce a ‘Father’s Month’ which will see paternity leave doubled for fathers from two to four weeks so they can spend more time with their babies in the crucial first weeks after birth. Paternity pay will also be increased to £260 a week, equivalent to the national minimum wage.
I know that this new announcement will be welcome news for many families in Wirral who want to give their families the best start in life. It will help over 400,000 families every year across the UK and comes on top of our offer to extend free childcare from 15 hours to 25 hours a week for working parents of three and four years olds, which will be paid for by raising the bank levy. The increase in paternity leave will also be good news for women who will be given more flexibility to do some more of the things they want after pregnancy with an extra pair of hands to help for a longer period.
This announcement comes as we set out our plans to help families in Wirral under Labour. I am pleased that we will also reinvest in Sure Start, a fantastic achievement of the last Labour Government, which has been neglected by David Cameron. We will double the number of childcare places available at Sure Start centres in Wirral and ensure they are properly used rather than being mothballed as many have been under the Tories. We will also offer parents guaranteed access to wraparound childcare between 8am and 6pm through local primary schools.
David Cameron promised to lead the most family friendly government ever but with families judging to keep their heads above water and feeling the pressure of the Tory cost-of-living crisis, it is clear that he has failed. Labour’s plans are good news and offer real solutions to improve childcare and family life in the crucial early years of childhood.