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‘Robot’ Rishi Sunak confronted by mother over rising childcare costs

Rishi Sunak was accused of acting “robotic” and “repeating a script” when questioned by a mother about the government’s childcare plan.

The Prime Minister spoke to parents during a visit to Aldersyde Day Nursery in Hartlepool, as the first families in England benefited from 15 hours of tax-funded care for two-year-olds.

One parent, who has two children, ages two and three, in daycare, questioned whether “the system has the right foundations in place,” citing capacity issues and how high daycare fees often hit families during have run into financial difficulties during maternity leave.

The exchange was caught by Tom Sheldrick, political correspondent for ITV News Tyne Tees.

She said: “There are a lot of costs that continue to rise. And then there is also the fear that kindergartens will have difficulties if these systems are introduced.

“I fear that we’re going to lose another kindergarten in the city because the system doesn’t feel, or certainly the information that’s coming out, the system doesn’t feel like it has the right foundations.”

She continued: “The first two years were expensive. And after maternity leave, maternity benefits are quite low.

“You’re already paying off that money to get a job and then you’re paying £1,800 a month for two children.”

Few thought Sunak handled the exchange very well – an ominous sign for the Tory general election campaign and day-to-day interactions with voters.

Responding, Sunak said: “That gap will be closed by this expansion.” Obviously we had it for three and four-year-olds, so now we’re going back to two-year-olds and then nine-month-olds.

“The entire period from maternity leave to when your little ones start school, it will all be there and the support will be there, which will be good.” And you are also right that we need to take the time to invest in the sector , to expand locations because it’s such a big change.”

His interrogator apparently responded to

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