Soaring prices are also affecting our children’s opportunities and their development.
Since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, the cost of afterschool clubs has soared across the North East, with families paying nearly £1,000 more each year to send their children to afterschool activities.
Nationally, the average family is spending more on afterschool clubs than on their weekly food shop.
This is holding families back, and forcing parents, especially mams, to work fewer hours or stop working because they can’t afford childcare.
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It also denies children opportunities which boost their learning and should be part of giving every child a happy and healthy childhood.
As Shadow Education Secretary, I hear from parents across the country who are pleading with the Government to prioritise children’s wellbeing and tackle these soaring prices so all our children can enjoy attending activities and clubs, and spending time with their friends.
But right now, the Government is leaving families to struggle with steeply rising prices and leaving children at risk of missing out.
After the chaos and disruption that children endured during the pandemic, spending months away from their friends, the Government’s neglect risks failing a generation.
That is why this week, I pushed the Government to do the right thing and match Labour’s ambitious Children’s Recovery Plan and put our children first.
Labour’s plan would deliver breakfast clubs and afterschool activities for every child to boost their development, and their time with friends and to support parents who are really struggling to give their children the opportunities during this cost of living crisis.
We would also be supporting children’s learning, delivering small group tutoring and targeted additional investment from early years to further education helping those who missed out most during lockdown. Critically, Labour’s plan would also provide a qualified mental health counsellor for every school so children who are struggling don’t have to spend months on waiting lists to get the help they need.
But the Conservatives are sitting on their hands, without a plan to support children’s recovery or their futures.
When I put forward Labour’s plan in Parliament, the Education Secretary didn’t even turn up to the debate.
Our children deserve better than an Education Secretary who won’t even show up to talk about their futures.
I want every child, in every school, in every corner of this country to benefit from a brilliant education, supported by a government that is ambitious for all their futures.
That’s what Labour’s plans would be delivering for all our children.