BRADFORD is set to benefit from a grant of half a million pounds to help fund around 200 new childcare places in the district.

The Department of Education has announced the grant as part of a multi-million-pound investment in childcare schemes to support working families.

Nationally, the Government is handing out £50 million through the Early Years Capital Fund.

In Bradford, £500,000 will be given to five nurseries, as part of the Government’s commitment to give working families 30 hours of free childcare.

These include Ashfield House in Eccleshill, Handprints in Silsden, Nightingales Day Nursery at Airedale Hospital, Acorns in Eldwick, and Margaret McMillan Children’s Centre, which will all benefit from extensions or refurbishments.

Caroline Dinenage, minister for the early years, said: “In my visits around the country I have heard from families whose lives have been improved by access to 30 hours.

“This investment will deliver more childcare places to working parents, giving them the benefits of 30 hours’ free childcare whilst giving their children high-quality early education that sets them up for life.”

Councillor Debbie Davies, Conservative spokesman for education on Bradford Council, welcomed the grant.

She said: “It’s a really good scheme and it’s good news for working parents.

“I have a three-year-old myself and I will benefit from this. Childcare costs can be extortionate.

“It will get more people into employment and will also be good for children.

“I would encourage everyone that is eligible to register early and hopefully there will be enough places for everyone to benefit from this.”

Councillor David Ward, Liberal Democrat spokesman on education, said: “This is good news and is long overdue.

“We welcome the 30 hours’ free childcare but it’s no use doing that unless it’s adequately funded.

“It is also about having people with the right qualifications and skills, it’s not just childminding, it’s childcare with education, and you cannot do that on the cheap.

“This grant is unlikely to be enough, but it is a move in the right direction.”

Councillor Imran Khan, executive member for education, said: “We are delighted that the district has received this funding boost to provide more childcare places for three and four-year-olds.

“The increase in capacity for childcare will mean we can help more young children benefit from early education, while helping their parents get into work.”

Rosemary Izzard, owner of Ashfield House, said: “We really appreciate the financial support being made available from the Early Years Capital Fund.”