Working families benefit from a thriving child care sector, with the scheme supporting up to 3,000 new child care businesses in the next financial year. I am pleased to inform the House that, from this April, we are doubling the value of the grants available to childminders and nurseries. We will also extend the scheme to existing child care businesses that have been trading for less than a year.
In my constituency, there is a huge demand from mothers with young children for safe and secure childminders from a diverse background. What further measures is my right hon. Friend able to take to ensure that those young mothers can return to work knowing that their children are safe and secure?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right that childminders are a crucial part of the child care sector. We want to see more of them, which is why we have enabled the establishment of childminder agencies. To date, the childcare business grant scheme has benefited more than 4,000 childminders, including almost 30 in my hon. Friend’s constituency. The scheme has also benefited seven nurseries in Harrow, East—MiniSteps, for example.