Parents of small children in Penarth – and in the rest of the Vale of Glamorgan – will NOT be eligible for a Welsh Government scheme to provide 30 hours of free “early education and childcare” to parents in other parts of Wales .
The Welsh Labour Government has said its new trial scheme is to be “tested ” in six local authority areas in Wales – but the Vale of Glamorgan is not one of them.
The local authority areas where parents will get free childcare are Anglesey, Gwynedd, Flintshire, Blaenau Gwent, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Swansea. But there’s going to be no such help for parents in Penarth – even though they pay the same in taxes, and pay a lot more in Council Tax – than parents in the 6 free-childcare areas in Wales.
In England, a similar initiative offering 30 hours of free childcare to working parents of 3-4 year olds is set to go nationwide in 2017, but parents in Penarth will be left out .
The decision has been criticised by Penarth Conservative AM and Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central) . He’s says this is another example of the Vale of Glamorgan losing out .
Davies says, “It is extremely disappointing that the Vale of Glamorgan has yet again been ignored by the Welsh Government. For too often we are seen as an afterthought and that is not good enough. This was an opportunity for the Welsh Government to show their commitment to the Vale, and sadly it has passed them by. ”
Davies added ” The barriers childcare can present to parents supporting their families as they wish, must be addressed head-on.”
Carl Sargeant (the Welsh Labour Government’s ‘cabinet’ secretary for communities and children) has admitted that in consultations across Wales “parents want childcare to be less of a drain on family income, available at times and in places which make it easier for them to work; and more accessible, with support for their children’s needs.”
Announcing the Welsh Labour Government trial scheme [which will exclude parents in Penarth and the Vale of Glamorgan] Sargeant said “It makes no sense to have to turn down a promotion, or a better job, losing opportunities to improve your family’s circumstances, just because you can’t access childcare when and where you need it.”
But Sargeant didn’t promise any extension of the taxpayer-funded childcare scheme to parents in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Penarth AM Andrew R T Davies said “Only the Welsh Conservatives will stand up for hardworking families in the area.”