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Volume 612: debated on Monday 4 July 2016

17. What progress the Government have made on providing 30 free hours of childcare per week for three and four year-olds. (905625)

We are delivering at great pace on our commitment to provide parents with 30 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds. With cross-party support, we have already taken the Childcare Act 2016 through Parliament. We announced in the November spending review that we would invest an additional £1 billion a year into the system from 2019-20—more than ever before—and we are not waiting until 2017 to deliver on our commitment: around 5,000 children from eight areas will get their 30 hours a year from this September.

The Public Accounts Committee, of which I am a member, highlighted the danger that the Government will be unable to deliver their pledge to give three and four-year-olds 33 hours of childcare a week. In view of all our findings, what is the Minister doing to ensure that local authorities manage their childcare markets effectively or intervene if necessary?

The hon. Lady asks an important question. I am in contact with a lot of local authorities, and the Department has the local authority working group. In addition to the increased funding we have provided, we are working to ensure that local authorities have the capital they need—an extra £50 million—to create places in their local areas where there is a need.