Childcare policy shows coalition 'chaos', says Labour

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Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg's lack of support for government plans to relax the child-to-adult ratios in nurseries is another example of "chaos" and "incompetence" at the heart of the coalition, Labour has said.

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg asked an urgent question on the policy that he said had met "widespread opposition".

Mr Twigg's inquiry comes after the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, signalled he will block the reforms.

Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said that the current system of childcare was "not working for parents" and highlighted many other European countries that had more relaxed child-ratios, on 9 May 2013.

Ms Truss added "at present we have the tightest ratios in Europe for children under three" and said the reforms would allow childcare professionals to "exercise their judgement".

The ratio changes are due to come into effect in England in September this year.

Mr Clegg's veto could have funding consequences for the government's entire childcare package.

Ms Truss also highlighted the low staff salaries amongst nursery staff who "earn £6.60 per hour on average, barely above the minimum wage".

Fellow Conservative MP Peter Bone described the change in nursery child-to-adult ratios as "a good Tory policy" and urged Ms Truss to "ignore" the Lib Dems.

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