Our towns and villages should have everything to make them the best place to start a family.

Good schools, great green spaces and fantastic communities. But for far too many families, accessing and affording childcare locally has become a real struggle.

Speaking to parents, I know the real challenges this is causing. From families making 90-minute round trips before work to the nearest nursery with a place, to parents having to cut back on work as childcare becomes unaffordable, to others having to rethink whether they can afford to raise a family here altogether.

This can’t be right. It isn’t fair for families and their children.

It’s bad for equality, with women by far the most likely to end up staying at home to look after children when childcare isn’t available. And it’s bad for the economy, stopping parents from working where they’d like to.

For too long, the Government hasn’t made affordable childcare a priority and local families have been paying the price.

Having worked to expand childcare provision before becoming an MP, since being elected improving access to affordable childcare has been a real priority.

I’ve met with local providers and families to understand the challenges and pushed the Government and Labour to do more.

It’s been welcome to see the Government finally listen to the calls I’ve been making along with MPs of all parties to invest more in childcare provision.

But from speaking to local providers, I have real concerns about the challenges families will face to actually access the new entitlements.

The current “hours” model for funding childcare has failed families. It means childcare providers are forced to raise costs for hours of childcare needed that fall outside of a family’s entitlement, making childcare a huge cost to bear when so many are already struggling with the cost of living.

Given this, I’m glad Labour is serious about making childcare a real priority: commissioning a review by a former Ofsted chair to make sure parents will actually be able to access in full the childcare support they are entitled to.

Issues in funding are only made worse by the lack of local provision. There are three children of childcare age for every Ofsted registered early years childcare place across our towns and villages.

The Government needs to do far more working with local authorities and providers to help grow the sector, providing the support, skills training and investment needed to make this happen.

Labour will address the supply side of childcare, working with the early years education and childcare sector to build capacity, and remove the legislative barriers that prevent local authorities expanding their childcare provision.

Labour would also put a breakfast club in every primary school, giving parents more options for childcare – and also making sure our kids are ready and able to concentrate on their learning in the school day.

For too long, childcare hasn’t been a priority. As our MP I’m committed to working to put that right, and in Government Labour will ensure we finally do.