Corbyn fails to explain childcare policy on Woman’s Hour

31 May

Emma Barnett: How much will it cost to provide unmeans-tested childcare for 1.3million children?

Jeremy Corbyn: Erm… it will cost… erm… it will obviously cost a lot to do so, we accept that…

EB: I presume you have the figures?

JC: Yes I do. Erm… we’ll… it does cost a lot to do, and the point I’m trying to make is that we’re making it universal, so that we are in a position to make sure that every child gets it and those than can erm… err… at the moment [coughs] get free places will continue to get them, those that have to pay won’t, and we’ll collect the money through taxation, mainly through corporate taxation.

EB: So how much will it cost?

JC: I’ll give you the figure in a moment. [loud exhale]

EB: You don’t know it?

JC: Erm… [nervous laugh]

EB: You’re logging in to your iPad here. You’ve announced a major policy, and you don’t know how much it will cost?

JC: Can I give you the exact figure in a moment?

EB: Is this not exactly the issue with people and the Labour Party which came up under Gordon Brown, that we cannot trust you with our money?

JC: Not at all – all our…

EB: But you don’t know the figure.

JC: All of our manifesto is, erm, fully costed and examined. And… err… [Interrupted]

EB: But you’re holding your manifesto, you’re flicking through it, you’ve got an iPad there, you’ve had a phone call while we’re in here, and you don’t know how much it’s going to cost?

JC: [Long pause] Can we come back to that in a moment?

EB: What when you’ve looked it up?

JC: Look … [Interrupted]

EB: My point is – it’s quite troubling. This is a policy you’re launching today Mr Corbyn and you don’t know how much it’s going to cost.

JC: [Loud exhale]

EB: It hardly inspires the voters.

JC: [Loud exhale] I want to give you an accurate figure.

EB: Why on earth are you giving free childcare to people who could afford it, if it’s unmeans-tested. You don’t have the figure. Hopefully someone’s emailing it to you.

JC: [Sigh] The important thing is that all children get a chance to grow up together. At the moment we have a system which separates out, in the sense that a child of, erm, wealthy parents may well be able to go to a paid-for pre-school or nursery facility. Others will not get that chance because their parents can’t afford it or if they’re poor they’ll get a free place. What we’re…

EB: This is a very expensive policy, Mr Corbyn. I’m going to help you out with the figures. I’ve got them. Would you like to hear how much it’s going to cost?

JC: What is your estimate of it? [Repeatedly clearing throat]

EB: Well it’s actually Angela Rayner, your shadow education secretary. £2.7billion. Then £4.8billion plus that with half a billion to reverse the cuts to the Sure Start scheme. Does that sound about right?

JC: It does sound correct.

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