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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 June, 2004, 05:12 GMT 06:12 UK
Labour focus on pre-school care
Poor families with children under five will be helped, Labour says
Poor families with children under five will be helped, Labour says
Labour is to focus on pre-school children in its five-year education plan due ahead of the general election.

More childcare options and resources will be given to poor families with young children if Labour is re-elected, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Yvette Cooper, the minister in charge of policies on combating social exclusion, told the paper under-fives would be a central election theme.

Labour's manifesto is due to be published within weeks.

"If you are looking for an important theme for a third term, I think you have to think about children first at the beginning of life," Ms Cooper said.

'Filling the gap'

"The welfare state has always missed out the under-fives.

"It covers maternity services and bits of immunisation, but it misses that age group. We ought to be filling that gap."

Ms Cooper added that if under-privileged children of this age can be helped than "their chances in life will be greatly enhanced and society's divisions lessened".

A Cabinet committee chaired by Chancellor Gordon Brown is co-ordinating the education department spending review which is said to include a cash boost to expand Sure Start, a scheme that helps children and their parents in underprivileged areas.

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27 Feb 04  |  Education
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23 Jun 04  |  Politics

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