Labour's Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP visited Bristol today to join Labour's parliamentary candidate for Bristol North West, Darren Jones on the campaign trail ahead of local and Euro elections on May 22nd.
Ed and Darren visited the Mama Bears nursery in Shirehampton to discuss Labour's childcare policies with parents and childcare workers. If elected in 2015, the next Labour Government will increase the number of free childcare hours a 3 or 4 year old receives from 15 to 25 hours a week and will support primary schools to put on pre- and post- school clubs to make it easier for parents to be in work. The House of Commons Library confirmed today that such a step could help 135,000 parents who want to work get back into work.
Mr Balls read the children's book "We're going on a bear hunt" to a room full of children before speaking to Tony and Bev who own MamaBears, about their experience of running the successful nursery in Shirehampton.
Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor, commented:
"I'm in Bristol North West with our excellent candidate Darren Jones to show mums and dads that Labour has the policy answers to the cost of living crisis that people are facing right across Bristol. Childcare is an important element of that and I'm proud that a Labour Government will increase free childcare for working parents to help over 100,000 parents who want to work get back into work."
Asked whether his visit to Bristol coincided on purpose with a visit to the Bristol and Bath Science Park by Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr Balls said:
"We had planned to be in Bristol a few weeks ago. David Cameron being here today shows that he is worried about seats like Bristol North West. I'm here today because we know we can win and we're working hard to do so."
Ed Balls also visited a number of digital technology businesses based at Bristol's Paintworks to witness Bristol's reputation for the creative industries for himself.
Afterwards, Ed dropped into the Labour Party offices to meet candidates and volunteers who were busy phoning voters across Bristol.