Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
New plans being considered by energy regulator Ofgem include a price cap on energy bills for more households on low incomes.
With the cost of gas and electricity for those currently on pre-payment meters already saving approximately four million people £80 a year, the extension could raise this number by another two million.
Research from Ofgem and the findings of the Competition and Markets Authority investigation point to vulnerable consumers in particular getting a poor deal.
Other Ofgem proposals include: a trial that would allow households to enter only their postcode and current supplier into a ‘digital deal checker’ to view the cheapest tariff; requiring suppliers to inform customers of cheaper deals with rival companies, under a trial scheme; a clickable option on all price comparison websites to ensure customers see prices in the whole of the market, not just preferred suppliers; and a cap on the charges levied when a pre-payment meter is installed under warrant.
Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said: “Protecting vulnerable consumers is a priority for Ofgem. We are committed to ensuring that the more disadvantaged in society are not left behind as we move towards a smarter, more competitive energy market.
“That’s why we are starting new work to protect vulnerable customers, including the option of introducing a safeguard tariff for them. Suppliers must also do more to get all their consumers, particularly those on poor value standard variable tariffs, a better deal. We are pressing ahead with a raft of reforms to make it even easier for people to switch no matter how they choose to shop around.”