MARK Williams MP called for the Welsh Government to do more on affordable childcare (Western Telegraph, February 26) by following UK Government policy in England. However, he failed to mention the fact that the UK Government has actually cut the financial help with childcare costs for working parents.

Before April 2011 all workers could claim £243 a month in tax free child care vouchers from their employer, but the UK Government slashed this by almost half for some workers.

The UK Government also cut working tax credits so that couples now need to work 24 hours between them, with one partner working at least 16 hours. Under the old system only one partner had to work 16 hours to qualify.

Against this backdrop the Welsh Government is committed to improving access to affordable childcare. I recently announced £2.3 million of funding for 2014/15 to provide quality, affordable child care to help families who wish to access childcare before and after the school day. We also provide free part time childcare for two to three years olds living in our most disadvantaged communities through our Flying Start Programme. We are expanding this to reach 36,000 children by 2016. In contrast the UK Government has overseen the closure of more than 500 children centres in England.

Childcare is a huge issue for many families, especially working parents and we will continue to take action on this front.


Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty Welsh Government