You might know that I grew up living in Bromborough in south Wirral, and was born in Clatterbridge hospital, in the days when it had a maternity unit. Since then, lots has changed, not least that Wirral babies are now born at Arrowe Park! But the role of Dads has also changed greatly. Whereas once, men might not have been routinely included in the birth of a child, it is now a regular thing that Dads are there if they want to be.
Since I was appointed to be Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Families one of the issues I have been drawing attention to is the role a father plays in their young child’s life and the existing stereotype of childcare being viewed as more of a women’s issue.
Politics should keep up with the pace of the changing society that we live in.
I was very pleased therefore that this week Ed Miliband announced that we will double paid paternity leave for fathers from two to four weeks under the next Labour government.
This is a policy that reflects the campaigning I have been doing because of the aspirations Dads have to play their part in the early stages of their child’s life. Labour understands modern families, and we know that fathers need time following the birth of their child just like mothers do.
This pledge by Ed Miliband builds on Labour’s record when it comes to paternity leave. An independent right to paternity leave was introduced under the last Labour Government and we want to do more. Labour’s paternity pledge also includes increasing payments to at least £260 a week so that the money that father’s receive is equivalent to the minimum wage and this will help them to afford to take the time off work.
The measure will be funded by savings from tax credits because our plan to extend free childcare to parents of three and four year-olds will mean they no longer have to rely on benefits to pay for their children to be looked after.
I have received lots of feedback on our childcare policies, and am always keen to know what people think. Let me know by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org or calling my office on 0151 645 6590
By Alison McGovern MP for Wirral News