I have been asked to reply.
It is up to local authorities to ensure there are sufficient child care places available to meet local demand. They receive funding from the Department for Children, Schools and Families which can be used to secure sufficient child care in line with local needs.
Subject to their individual circumstances, refugees have access to the full range of benefits and services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. This includes Jobcentre Plus customers on New Deal for Lone Parents or New Deal for Partners, who can access child care to allow them to participate in the provision. This includes English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) training.
More generally, ESOL classes are provided by the Learning and Skills Council. Attendance for ESOL training is voluntary and while attending such courses, there are a number of ways that learners can access child care provision. DWP’s Employability Skills Programme learners in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance and undertaking a programme of a minimum of 20 hours per week are eligible for help with child care costs. The discretionary Learner Support Fund allocated to providers by the Learning and Skills Council can be used to support child care costs for learners aged 20 and above. Some local European Social Funding allocations can also be used to support child care costs. This varies from project to project depending on the scope and purpose of the project. In addition to this, learning undertaken by parents through Family Literacy, Language and Numeracy can also offer child care provision in some places. This support is not mandatory but informal arrangements are made by a number of providers.
None of the funding available from Department for Work and Pensions or the Learning and Skills Council is available to asylum seekers; The Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) provide support to asylum seekers, and their dependants, who are destitute or likely to become destitute in the immediate future. No specific child care provision for asylum-seeking women who are taking English for speakers of other languages classes is given.
The Parents’ Childcare Survey collects information on take-up of child care by household income. The 2004 survey .showed that higher income families were more likely to have used child care in the last week than lower income families; 73 per cent. of families with a yearly income over £32,000 had used any child care in the last week, compared with 56 per cent. of families with a yearly income of under £10,0001.
1 Childcare and Early Years Provision: A Study of Parents’ Use, Views and Experiences, Research Report 723; DfES. Bryson, C., Kazimirski, A. and Southwood, H. (2006). This report is available at: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR723.pdf
Under £10,000 £10,000 to £19,999 £20,000 to £31,999 £32,000+ Used any child care 56 60 68 73 Used formal care 31 36 43 52 Used informal care 38 41 45 45
£10,000 to £19,999
£20,000 to £31,999
Used any child care
Used formal care
Used informal care
By 2008, the Department aims to increase the number of children in lower-income working families using formal child care by 120,000 children from the 2004-05 baseline of 614,000 children. This baseline is estimated from the 2004 Parents’ Childcare Survey data.
This forms part of the PSA target to ‘Safeguard children and young people, improve their life outcomes and general well-being, and break cycles of deprivation’ and will contribute to achieving this target by helping to reduce the proportion of children living in households where no-one is working.
The figures showing progress towards this target will be available in February 2008 when the results of the 2007 Parents’ Childcare Survey will be published.