Proposed Government nursery ratio reforms to be blocked by Nick Clegg

Deputy Prime Minister 'remains to be persuaded' about childcare changes

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Nick Clegg is unconvinced about the proposed childcare reforms that will see ratios of staff to children in nurseries decreased, BBC Newsnight has heard.

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The Childcare Bill, which would see nursery staff and childminders looking after more children, is set to be vetoed by the Deputy Prime Minister, which could have far-reaching consequences for the government’s entire childcare reform package.

Speaking to Newsnight, Clegg’s spokesperson confirmed his stance, saying, “Nick remains to be persuaded that this is the right thing to do for very young children. Or, crucially, to be persuaded that this would actually help families with high childcare costs. This continues to be discussed in government.”

If David Cameron fails to persuade Clegg and his party to support the reforms, which are due to be implemented in September, funding could be cut for the entire childcare package, which includes the £1,200 tax break for working parents.

Tory Education Minister, Liz Truss, who is pushing through the changes, has claimed they will bring Britain up to speed with the rest of Europe.

Under the new structure, Truss claims the standard of childcare will rise, as only nurseries who hire staff with better qualifications will be able to take on more children.

Clegg’s spokesperson has said of the deputy’s disapproval, “The delivery of good quality, affordable childcare is one of Nick Clegg’s biggest priorities in government.

“He has looked very closely at proposals to increase the number of children each adult can look after – and at the very serious concerns raised by parents and childcare providers in the recent government consultation.”

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