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Nick Clegg: Why I'm Blocking Childcare Reforms

Thursday 9th May 2013

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will block changes which would increase the number of children that child carers can look after.

From September, childminders will be able to take on up to four babies under the age of one - or up to six two-year-olds.

Speaking live on his weekly LBC 97.3 show Mr Clegg explained discussions over changes to childcare ratios are "ongoing".

He told Nick Ferrari: "I've got young children. They're not at nursery anymore but they've been at nursery so I know how much any parent listening to this programme will really, really care that we get this right in terms of improving the affordability of childcare - which we must do - but also the quality," he explained.

Mr Clegg claimed that a consultation by the Department for Education came back with lots of concerns from professional and parents about trying to increase the number of children someone can look after without affecting quality.

"If you look at a little two year old toddler, suddenly having six in a group rather than four is quite a challenge for the adults so we've got to get this right," he continued.

The Deputy Prime Minister reassured listeners that his differences with the Prime Minister over the ratios will not impact planned tax breaks worth 1,200 for families with two parents in work.

"This has absolutely nothing, nothing at all to do with that at all," he emphasised. "That is funded completely separately. The 1,200 that stays. I think people are mixing things up there.

"We need to get it right. I am absolutely passionate that we should do more as a country to make sure that childcare is a better quality but also more affordable and this is not a great idealogical thing this is just about getting it right for parents up and down the country."