Cameron puts family at the heart of the Conservative campaign

David Cameron electrifies race for Number 10 with an eye-catching initiative to help hardworking people. His commitment to give 30 hours free childcare to working parents marks a turning point in the campaign, presenting a positive vision for a future Conservative government

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Family values: David cameron's new childcare pledge
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Clare George-Hilley
On 14 April 2015 11:33

Families, where would we be without them? Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, grandfathers and grandmothers -- there is no greater comfort than being close to those whom you love. Yet for many parents with young children, the challenges of managing and paying for childcare whilst holding down a job have been a major cause for concern for far too long.

The economic downturn left many concerned about job security and personal finances.

Soaring childcare costs have left many out of pocket, struggling to break even despite working full time. All too often, working people have been earning a fulltime wage, only to see the majority of it disappear on childcare costs.

Today’s announcement has changed that.

Many have been calling for a more positive tone to the Conservative election campaign, and today they got what they’ve been asking for. The offer to voters of 30 hours a week of free childcare isn’t simply a clever economic policy to help hardworking people, it’s an emotionally-driven commitment which will improve the lives of millions in our country.

Speaking at the Conservative manifesto launch this morning, Cameron said: “For families with young children, childcare is not one issue among many -- it is the issue. They’re asking: how can we make this work? How can we afford it? It shouldn’t have to be this way.”

Tuesday's announcement will chime well with voters, not simply because of the financial implications, but because of the impact it will have relieving the burden of household finances. It will mean that more and more people now have the freedom of go out and work, knowing that their childcare costs are protected, enabling them to save more money for their children’s future.

Those who feared that Lynton Crosby’s highly disciplined long-term economic plan messaging was failing to resonate with voters should think again.

The first stage of the Conservatives election narrative was to establish the party as the obvious choice for economic competence; the second stage will be to demonstrate what that competence can deliver and how it will improve lives.

For all the rumblings about UKIP and the opportunistic headline-grabbing from defectors, there really is only a single choice at this election.

It’s a straight fight between Ed Miliband, the man who betrayed a family member, and David Cameron, the man who put family at the heart of his vision for Britain.

Clare George-Hilley is Director of Communities and Social Justice, Parliament Street Research Council. She is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. @ClareHilley

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