HC Deb 13 May 2003 vol 405 cc177-8W
Jon Trickett

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the average cost of full-time child care in the Hemsworth constituency; and if he will make a statement. [109899]

Maria Eagle

The cost of child care reported in the Department for Education and Skills 2001–02 audit shows average costs for Wakefield, the LEA within which Hemsworth falls, of £83 per week for full day care. The audits were completed for each local authority by their respective Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships. The audits do not give a further breakdown for constituency areas.

The Government recognise that making child care affordable is a key challenge for the National Childcare Strategy and have made a substantial investment to achieve this.

Working parents, subject to the level of their income, may receive support through the child care element of the Working Tax Credit. Tax credits are rightly targeted at lower and middle income families who may use a range of types of child care. The child care element of the Working Tax Credit provides for up to 70 per cent. of costs of eligible child care. It can pay up to £94.50 a week for one child (where the child care cost is £135), and up to £140 a week for two or more children (where the cost is £200).

£1 million a day is now spent on supporting parents with child care costs through the Working Tax Credit.

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