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23 Feb 2019

#Labwomen2019 - Early Years, Education and Childcare

Today I was honoured to be given the opportunity to deliver a speech at the Labour Women's Conference.

My speech:

Conference,  chairs, Sisters.   My name is Sarah Hacker from Unite the Union and I am speaking in support of the motion. I'm also a councillor, school governor and parent.

Sisters, we know the the biggest barrier to women to work is the lack of good quality, affordable childcare and nursery provision. We also know that this condemn many women to a fire if low incomes leading to low pensions.

A vicious cycle of financial inequality that spans a lifetime.

Recently Philip Alston, the UN poverty envoy,  took evidence from people across the UK and his findings were damn ing.

This Conservative government he said inflicted “great misery” on its people with “punitive,  mean-spirited, and often callous” austerity policies.

In the world's fifth largest economy levels of child poverty were not just a disgrace but a social calamity and an economic disaster.

I don't think I've ever heard such enormous condemnation from anyone let alone an envoy from the United Nations.

We always knew that workers have borne the brunt of the 2008 economic crash.

Add to that Universal Credit

Cuts in local funding

Closure of Sure Start centres that provided real improvements in health, parenting and behaviour with the poorest children benefitting most.

And we have a toxic mix of parents reliant on food banks and children reliant on free school meals.

Financial inequality,  the lack of childcare and early years education has a motor impact on child development right up to how they perform at GCSE and beyond.

We can't rely on the Tories to deliver on Early Years Education  and Childcare.  Their solution, as with so many things, is to rely heavily on the private sector who cream off the profits.

We are left with unequal access. Poorly paid and poorly trained staff.

Let me make this clear - people who do thr work are not to blame. It's quite clear where the blame lies.

It lies with austerity.

It lies with tbwclosure of Sure Star Centres by a Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition.

And it lies with this Conservative government who havecutfunding to local authorities to the bone.

Only a Labour government will reverse the cuts and bring in high quality early early childhood education and care provision as a part of a National Education Service ice that is truly cradle -to-grave.

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