Childcare Bill returns to the Lords

03 February 2016

The Childcare Bill returned to the House of Lords on Tuesday 2 February for consideration of Commons amendments in 'ping pong'.

Lords members agreed to MPs' amendments relating to the provision of flexible childcare hours for parents who work outside the hours of 9-5, and during school holidays.

The bill now awaits Royal Assent.

Lords third reading: Monday 26 October

Lords report stage: Wednesday 14 October

The first vote concerned the funding of the bill's pledge to extend free childcare. Members proposed that the government should complete a large-scale analysis of the costs and funding implications of the policy, which would then be considered by both Houses, before the extension could be implemented. Members voted 222 in favour of the amendment and 209 against, so the change was made.

A proposal calling for more information on the provision of flexible childcare outside the hours of 9am-5pm also went to a vote. The change was made after members voted 195 in favour and 169 against.

The third vote concerned a call for further regulations under the bill to be debated and voted on in Parliament ahead of implementation. Peers voted 159 in favour and 137 against, so the change was made to the bill.

The Childcare Bill now moves to third reading, a final chance to 'tidy up' the bill in the Lords. It is scheduled for Monday 26 October.

Lords committee stage day two: Monday 6 July

Members of the Lords discussed amendments covering the flexibility of the government's proposed regulations, and a proposal for a report on the impact of childcare entitlement on low income working parents. 

Lords committee stage day one: Wednesday 1 July

Members of the Lords discussed suggestions covering the welfare of children, how the policy will be funded and the definition of a 'working parent'. The government confirmed that report stage, a further chance to examine the bill and make changes in the Lords, will not take place before October.

Lords second reading: Tuesday 16 June

The debate focused on the key proposal in the bill, to extend free childcare from 15 hours to 30 hours a week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds. The bill was broadly welcomed, but some members raised concerns around the cost of the policy. Other questions included whether the bill would apply to parents in education and training, and how the government will ensure the childcare provided is of a high quality.

Childcare Bill summary

The bill will define laws around:

  • free childcare for young children of working parents
  • publication of information about childcare and related matters by local authorities in England.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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