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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 13:14 GMT
Childcare Bill

AIM
This bill seeks to ensure an affordable, flexible, high quality childcare place is available to all families with children up to the age of 14 who require it.

MAIN PROVISIONS
TIMETABLE
Responsible department: DfES
Origin: House of Commons
Introduced: 8 November 2005
Second reading: 28 November 2005
Committee stage: 6, 8, 13, 15 & 20 December 2005
Remaining stages: 9 March 2006
Consideration of Lords amendments: 28 June 2006
LORDS:
First reading: 9 March 2006
Second reading: 21 March 2006
Committee stage: 19 & 26 April, 4 & 10 May 2006
Report stage: 12 June 2006
Third reading: 26 June 2006

ROYAL ASSENT: 11 July 2006

  • Places a responsibility on Local Authorities to shape and support the local childcare market to respond to the needs of under-14s and their families, in line with existing early education responsibilities.

  • Reforms the regulatory framework for early years education where providers are required to register and be inspected by Ofsted.

    BACKGROUND
    This legislation has evolved from the 'Ten Year Childcare Strategy' described by Gordon Brown in his pre-Budget report of December 2004.

    Chancellor Brown made the following pledges:-

    • Paying lone parents 40 per week in their first year of returning to work
    • Extending the Child Trust Fund
    • Increasing and extending paid maternity leave - from six to nine months by 2007 and to 12 months by the end of the next Parliament. This can be transferred from mothers to fathers.
    • Improving flexibility in the work place to respond to childcare needs.
    • Extending free child care for 3-4 year-olds to 15 hours per week by 2010.
    • Increasing the number of Sure Start Children's Centres to 2,500 by 2008 and 3,500 by 2010.
    • Childcare Tax Credits will be raised for lower and middle income families - those earning less than 59,000 pa will have 80% of their costs paid for.

    PROGESS
    12 June 2006 House of Lords Report Stage
    -A Tory amendment to extend into the foreseeable future the duty of local authorities to provide sufficient childcare. Contents 147; Not-Contents 147 - rejected as there was no majority
    -An all party amendment to alter the semantics of a learning requirements clause to reflect a supportive rather than dogmatic tone. Contents, 124; Not-Contents, 130 - amendment rejected



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