By Tim Montgomerie
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The Prime Minister is on breakfast TV this morning to promote his vision that, one day, all of us – not just those from difficult backgrounds – will be able to access government-backed help for new parents if they choose.
He is unveiling three new features of this help this morning:
- a brand new digital service for parents-to-be and new parents, providing regular emails and texts with timely information as their pregnancy develops and their child grows;
- free parenting classes to all parents of children aged five years and under in three trial areas;
- expert organisations to deliver relationship support for first time parents in four trial areas of the country from this summer.
On the Number 10 website Mr Cameron explains his thinking:
“Parents are nation-builders. It’s through love and sheer hard work that we raise the next generation with the right values. That’s why this Government is doing everything possible to support parents. We’re doing the big, long-term things to make this country stronger for our children – dealing with our debts; having a massive push for better schools; working to create more good, skilled jobs in our economy. But we’re also focussed on making life easier for parents day-to-day, from extending childcare to increasing the number of health visitors. The parenting classes and films we’re launching this week are an important part of that, providing clear, professionally-led advice on everything from teething to tantrums.”
Andrew Lansley commented:
"We are determined to help people become more confident in becoming a parent – from pregnancy to the start of their children’s lives. From now on, this new information service will be at parents’ sides to support them in the first stage of their child’s journey, guiding them with relevant information and first-hand experience from other parents.”
Speaking on this morning's Today programme, ConHome columnist and family policy expert Jill Kirby worried that those most likely to access these new services will be the middle classes and those in least need of parenting help. She said that resources should be focused on troubled families – particularly at this time of national economic emergency.
1pm: Watch Mr Cameron's ITV interview, launching the parenting initiative.