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.
Half of areas have more affordable housing
According to analysis by Yorkshire Building Society, house prices in over half of local authority areas are more affordable now than they were in 2007.
Despite the gap between the least and most affordable parts of Britain having almost doubled since the start of the economic downturn, the building society found that homes in 54 per cent of local authority areas are more affordable now than they were ten years ago due to wages increasing at a higher rate than property values over this period. Within the 54 per cent are areas such as Edinburgh, Birmingham, Peterborough, Leeds and Harrogate.
In contrast, houses in London and most of the south of England are now far less affordable as house price rises have outstripped wage growth at a far higher rate.
The analysis also revealed that many areas are still unaffordable for first-time buyers, with the average price of a home now more than 20 times the average wage in some parts of the capital.
Andrew McPhillips, Yorkshire Building Society chief economist, said: "Unsurprisingly, the data shows that there is a distinct divide between the north and south of the country when it comes to housing affordability, but this has become even more pronounced since the financial crash. Across London and large swathes of southern England, which were already some of the most unaffordable parts of the country, it has become increasingly difficult for first-time buyers and those wanting to move up the housing ladder to be able to buy their first or next home.
"However, the north of England, Wales and Scotland present a different picture entirely, with many places, such as Edinburgh, Peterborough and Birmingham, becoming more affordable than they were before the credit crunch. While some northern cities, such as Manchester, are less affordable than they were in 2007, in much of the north of England, Scotland and Wales, the gap between earnings and house prices is around a third of the average for London."