Labour forces vote on childcare bid
Labour will challenge coalition MPs to support plans to offer 25 hours of free childcare to working parents of three and four-year-olds.
The Opposition will force a vote on its policy in the Commons tomorrow as MPs debate the Government's Childcare Payments Bill.
Labour said its policy would save hard-pressed parents £1,500 a year for each eligible child, paid for through an £800 million hike in the bank levy.
Shadow Treasury minister Catherine McKinnell said: "Childcare costs have gone up by 30% since 2010, but David Cameron has cut childcare support for families in this Parliament.
"Labour's economic plan will make work pay and back families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. We will expand free childcare places for working parents of three and four-year-olds from 15 to 25 hours per week.
"This will help nearly half-a-million families. And we'll pay for it by increasing the bank levy by £800 million.
"This will be on top of the Government's plans for tax-free childcare and will be worth over £1,500 per child a year."
The legislation being debated in the Commons implements the Government's childcare tax break worth up to £2,000 for each child.
Under the plans the Government would provide 20% support on costs up to £10,000 per year for each child through an online account.
But in a letter to MPs, Treasury exchequer secretary Priti Patel said around 9% of eligible parents did not have access to the internet.
She said HM Revenue and Customs "will make assisted digital options available for those not currently able to access the internet".
"These will help all parents register for the scheme, reconfirm their details and operate their account digitally."
Ms McKinnell said: " It's outrageous that nearly one in 10 parents who don't have access to the internet could lose out. Ministers need to fix this."
The Childcare Payments Bill has its report stage and third reading in the Commons tomorrow.