Lib Dem Conference 2011: Lib Dems propose package of support for children and families

Janaki Mahadevan
Sunday, September 18, 2011

Delegates at the Liberal Democrats' conference have voted to support the introduction of an "education credit" that will offer children and families a package of support from the early years through to employment.

In a move that expands upon the pupil premium, a key Liberal Democrat manifesto pledge adopted in the coalition agreement, the education credit will ensure all eligible children will receive 15 hours of free early years provision from the age of two and free transport for all pupils and students below the age of 18.

The credit will also include a guarantee of free breakfast and midday meal; face-to-face careers advice; support with the cost of computer and broadband access; musical instrument teaching; and access to the Health Child Programme.

Introducing the motion, Baroness Joan Walmsley said "This motion recognises education as the key tool to improving social mobility. We know that children learn best when they are healthy and happy, and that is why this package goes far beyond schools. The list is not exclusive and can be added to at a later date.

"All good things in the crate can only be provided when resources are live, but I for one will be urging the government to give them priority when the economic situation improves."

The current measure for child poverty will be used to judge who will be eligible for the package. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children as well as children of service personnel will also be eligible for the credit.

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