§ Ms Harman
I will be working closely with my colleague, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, whose Department has responsibility for developing and implementing a National Child Care Strategy. This Strategy will match provision to the requirements of the modern labour market and help parents, especially women, to balance family and working life. The availability of good quality and affordable child care not only benefits women, it has wide-ranging benefits for the whole community. Most important of all, it benefits children.642W
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment has already made clear the importance he attaches to the development of a coherent programme for the education and care of young children that, along with after school provision, helps parents who want to work. The integration of education and child care is central to this programme, ensuring that children as well as parents benefit from provision.