Sunday 19 July 2020 / 10:30 PM Education / Keir Starmer / Press Releases

Labour condemns lack of summer support for children as PM orders millions of parents back to the office

Labour condemns lack of summer support for children as PM orders millions of parents back to the office

Keir Starmer has said that the Prime Minister is putting parents in an “impossible position” by urging a return to offices over the summer while failing to provide adequate support for childcare, holiday activities or catch-up schemes.

The Labour leader will visit a school in Coventry today (Monday 20 July), alongside Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green. Labour claims the Government is “penalising parents” by announcing a return to offices during the height of the school holiday period without any additional support for families.

The intervention comes amid widespread frustration from parents at the government’s handling of education. Last week, a survey by Parentkind revealed seven in ten parents think the Government has handled the issue poorly during the pandemic.

Despite millions of children experiencing school closures, the government has not announced any additional funding for summer programmes since the onset of the pandemic. A £9 million holiday fund announced in January will support 50,000 children, meaning just 0.5% of schoolchildren will receive support through the scheme. Meanwhile, many commercial summer activity providers have cancelled all their 2020 programmes.

Last week, Labour called for targeted support for the struggling childcare sector to prevent a wave of nursery closures. Thousands of childcare providers have closed in the last five years, with thousands more believing that they will not be able to remain open this year.

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“We all want society to get moving again, but it requires a clear plan and national leadership from the government. Despite ordering millions of parents back to the office, the Prime Minister has refused to provide any extra help for families, penalising parents by putting them in an impossible position.

“Parents got a back-to-work notice on Friday just as the summer holidays began. But they got no support for structured activities, no summer catch-up schemes, and no support for a childcare sector on its knees.

“If we are going to reopen our society and economy safely and successfully, we need the public to have confidence in the government’s advice, we need test, track and trace to be working properly, and we need proper support for children to learn and for parents to get back to work.”