Jeremy Hunt forced to defend speed of childcare boost to millions

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Jeremy Hunt has defended the speed of the rollout of his Budget offer of free childcare for working parents with children under the age of five, a policy which will not be fully available until September 2025. The Chancellor said: “This is the biggest transformation in childcare in my lifetime.”

He told Sky News: “It is a huge change and we are going to need thousands more nurseries, thousands more schools offering provision they don’t currently offer, thousands more childminders.

“We are going as fast as we can to get the supply in the market to expand.”

“But it is the right thing to do because we have one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world and we know it is something that is a huge worry, for women in particular, that they have this cliff-edge when maternity leave ends after nine months, no help until the child turns three and that can often be career ending.

“So I think it is the right thing to do for many women, to introduce these reforms and we are introducing them as quickly as we can because we want to remove those barriers to work.”

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