§ 34. Caroline Flint
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what impact the expansion in child care and early years services has had on the labour market. 
§ Ms Hodge
Since 1997 there has been an unprecedented expansion of child care places. By September 2000 more than 546,000 children had been helped through the creation of new child care places. Even after regard has been given to places closing when childminders or playgroup workers move on, this still represents new places for 343,000 children.
It has also led to a large expansion in the number of people working in child care and related occupations in the UK—122,000 since autumn 1997. This is the second fastest growing occupational groups in the UK Labour market, showing how the national child care strategy is producing opportunities for work as well as opportunities for children.