Grants to help more childcare providers

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Grants of up to £500 will help female entrepreneurs start childminding businesses and get more mothers back into the workplace, the Government said yesterday.

Women and Equalities Minister Maria Miller said the grants would be available from next April for people setting up a nursery or childminding business.

The money, part of a £2m scheme, will help cover legal and insurance costs, health and safety training and equipment, while advice and mentoring will also be offered.

Mrs Miller said: “What I have announced today is really just extra focus on the importance of stimulating growth in this market.

“We’ve seen for too many years, particularly childminders moving out of the childcare business because of very burdensome red tape... problems with encouraging people to come into the market.

“What I’m announcing today will really just excite people to think about childcare as a business.

“One of the biggest barriers to women who don’t work at the moment going into work is the availability of childcare, then I think this is exactly the sort of measure that can stimulate that part of the market.”

The grants are expected to help get up to 6,000 new childcare businesses off the ground.

“There are more women in work than ever before and they are playing a vital role in our economic recovery, but good quality, affordable and reliable childcare is the key to even more women being able to work,” she said.

“More childcare options mean more women can take up jobs, help support their families and realise their own career ambitions.”

The minister also said Prime Minister David Cameron was still committed to having more women in government despite being in a coalition.

“He’s achieved that, (in the) last reshuffle 24 more female ministers sitting on our front bench,” she said.