Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Families, commenting on the publication of the Children and Families Bill, said:
“Hard working families are struggling under David Cameron and this Bill will do little to help.
“This Bill removes the duty on councils to determine if there are sufficient childcare places. This will hit families who are having a hard time finding appropriate childcare.
“Many young people with Special Educational Needs could lose support. 17 per cent of pupils have additional needs but not a statement, and they could be left without help as the Government scraps the ‘School Action’ categories which provide support such as access to specialist teachers and Educational Psychologists.
“With huge cuts to local authority budgets, many families with disabled and SEN children could be left high and dry. The lack of any minimum national standards in the legislation to underpin the new ‘local offer’ risks creating a postcode lottery of provision.
“Labour will seek to ensure that this Bill does not undermine the crucial support many families rely on.”<img alt="Lisa Nandy" src="uploads/thumbs/M_8d631956-3618-6274-5d73-47904b59c4af.jpg" style="float:right; border="/>
Lisa Nandy MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Young People, added:
“This Bill dilutes a long standing principle in law that the interests of the child must come first in cases of parental separation. When this change to ‘shared parenting’ was made in Australia, it led to a chaotic backlog in the courts.
“The legislation also does nothing to help foster carers, who are being hit hard by the Government’s bedroom tax. Ministers need a plan to address the shortage of families becoming foster parents.
“While we welcome plans to speed up the adoption process, Ministers need to show they have a plan for all children - not just those who are adopted. Labour will campaign to ensure that all children get the help they need.”<div>