Government launches new Task Force for childhood

Childhood and Families Ministerial Task Force aims to improve children’s experiences of family life

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The Government has launched a new group designed to improve children’s experiences of growing up and family life. Prime Minister David Cameron is to chair the Childhood and Families Ministerial Task Force, which was announced by Nick Clegg yesterday.

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“The Task Force will identify specific policy proposals that will make the biggest difference to children and families, tackling a hardcore of everyday bottlenecks that frustrate family life,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick.

He also claimed it was “not right” that nine out of ten families with children were eligible for child-tax credits. “Instead we should be giving families much more control over how they live their lives,” he added.

Currently, parents can claim child tax credit if they earn up to £58,000, or £66,000 if the child is under the age of one. However, the Government is considering restricting the benefit to parents with a combined income of no more than £30,000.

Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, told the Telegraph, “Cutting child tax credit for families with a joint income of £30,000 or £40,000 a year will hit a lot of parents who already find themselves overstretched.”

The outcome of the debate on child-tax credits will be outlined in the emergency budget next week.

The Government has also outlined plans on how parents, charities and other groups can set up their own “free schools”. Groups will have responsibility for the school’s aims, curriculum, teaching methods and possible sites.

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, said Ofsted will monitor the schools and they will be closed down if they fail. “We will be rigorous in ensuring that those who do go down this road are equipped to make it a success.”

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A new body called the New Schools Network has been set up to advise groups on how to set up schools. The first “free schools” are expected to open in September 2011.

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