Gillian's Column of the Week
Chichester, Sussex - For the Chichester Observer, Thursday, August 24, 2023
Record Childcare Investment and 'Uber-Style' Buses Come to Chichester


Congratulations to everyone receiving GCSE results today. Whatever your results are, there are now more choices than ever for you to choose from - whether it’s A-Levels or one of our new T-Level courses, where you can study everything from healthcare to law and agriculture. You can find out more about what's on offer on the National Careers Service website.

With finances tight for many households at the moment, I know day-to-day spending feels like it’s all adding up. We’re making some real headway on inflation, bringing it down to 6.8 per cent over the last two months, but we know there’s more to do more to make other costs like childcare and transport, more manageable.

This Government is rolling out the single biggest investment in childcare in England ever, expanding 30 free hours of childcare for working parents down to nine months old over the next two years, which will save eligible working parents up to £6,500 per year. By 2027-28, we expect to be spending £8 billion in total every year to support parents with flexible and affordable childcare and give children the best quality early years education.

Currently, eligible working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds can get 30 hours a week of free childcare. To access your 30 hours free childcare for next term, make sure you apply by the 31st August. More information is available on the Government's website.

The Government are investing record funding into childcare across England.
We have also recently announced a number of schemes to help people get from A to B, starting with a further extension of the Government’s £2 fare cap on normal bus services. Maybe even more exciting, however, is the rollout of a new, on-demand bus service this month for residents across Chichester!

I’ve been pushing for an Uber-style bus solution with members of Transport for the South East for the past few years now, as a way of preventing rural isolation, reducing emissions, as well as reducing waste in journey times with empty buses traversing the national park.

I’m therefore really pleased that residents can now book a place on the new ‘Flex’ services: just open the 'Ride Pingo' app and select one of the collection points. It should be a quick and convenient option for many of our rural communities, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action over the coming weeks. Check out West Sussex County Council’s website for more information on the new service.