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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 December, 2004, 05:14 GMT
'Universal childcare' is promised
Children playing
The government wants affordable childcare
The government has announced plans to make childcare more affordable and universal as part of Thursday's pre-budget report.

It wants to make childcare affordable for all parents of three and four year- old children.

It also wants to provide care for all pupils up to age 14 at schools between the hours of 0800 and 1800.

The plans are likely to see an increase in the number of children's centres providing health and education.

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BBC Education and Social Affairs Correspondent Kim Catcheside said: "At the moment, parents pay about three-quarters of the national bill, and childcare in the UK is amongst the most expensive in Europe.

"The chancellor could help by subsidising nurseries or by increasing tax credits and tax relief."

Chancellor Gordon Brown is also expected to announce an extension to maternity leave to 12 months, which could also be offered to fathers.


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How the government plans to improve childcare



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