Under the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition and then the Conservative Government families with children have suffered cuts to services and support, schools losing funding, a squeeze on living standards with below inflation wages, a rise in the cost of living, a freeze on benefits and the introduction of Universal Credit leaving them without support sometimes for weeks. That’s why I’m really excited about what Labour is offering in Beverley and Holderness and across the country to support parents, guardians and their children.
It starts with extending statutory maternity pay from 39 weeks to 52 weeks – and that leave and pay can be shared with a second parent so that every family can manage that first year with their child in the way that works best for them.
Labour knows that for many parents the cost of childcare is a difficult financial burden so we are promising 30 hours a week of free childcare for all 2 – 4 year olds, saving parents thousands of pounds a year. In Beverley and Holderness this policy will help around 1900 children.
The cuts to school funding have left many schools struggling to cope – in our area schoolcuts.org.uk estimates that Withernsea High School has lost over £200 per pupil whilst Hedon Primary School has lost over £300 per pupil. Labour will reverse the cuts and invest in our schools. We will also ensure that every primary school child will receive a free hot meal to end the stigma around free school meals and the scandal of children going hungry at school.
Many parents and guardians are concerned about the increase in the number of 5 to 19 year olds diagnosed with a mental health problem so Labour will establish a network of open access mental health hubs to allow more children to directly access support. We will also recruit qualified on-site secondary school counsellors to ensure the pathways to help are easily accessible.
Finally, with an end to the benefit freeze and the two child cap, the scrapping of Universal Credit and a £10 an hour minimum wage for all workers, Labour will ease the financial difficulties of families with children so you can focus on enjoying time with your loved ones.