Parents are struggling to cope with a triple whammy of rising nursery costs, plummeting childcare places and cuts to support. Labour is offering an alternative.
The party needs to show how new 'guarantees' will be delivered. If not, the Tories, with their offer of more money in parents’ pockets, could win the all-important female vote.
The changes announced today by Liz Truss are unlikely to significantly reduce costs, boost quality or widen access to early years provision.
High-quality childcare should be seen by government as an issue for business and a key infrastructure priority. But ministers have nothing to say on the subject.
The party will table a Commons vote to enshrine the current ratios in law after confusion over the government's position.
The Deputy PM says it is "flatly wrong" to say he approved the changes and that the coalition only agreed to a consultation.
Without greater long-term investment, the relaxation of ratios is extremely unlikely to lead to the savings promised by ministers.
The party seeks to set the coalition parties against each other after Clegg warns that relaxing ratios could damage the quality of childcare.
By prioritising support for dual-earner couples, the coalition is shunning backbench Tory calls to favour the 'traditional' family.
High-earners gain the most, 860,000 single-earner families lose out and the system won't be introduced until 2015.