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The House of Commons nursery is the most expensive in the country and should be opened to local families according to a Labour MP. Only one child has enrolled allegedly and the nursery has cost over £500,000 to refurbish and set up the facility. Controversially, childcare providers invited to tender to run the facility in March argued that the money would be better spent to subsidise children into local nurseries rather than wasting the money on creating a white elephant. Many other public bodies run successful childcare schemes without running their own dedicated nurseries.
Earlier in 2010, Bellamy's Bar, a popular bar in Westminster was transformed into the nursery to cater for some 40 children. However there is only one child on the roll call. There are 6,500 people who work on the Parliamentary estate yet only one child is being put forward to the nursery making it most expensive place in the country! Places are charged at the London average cost of £300 per week, or £10 an hour. Shortly before the nursery plans emerged, £480,000 was spent on refurbishing Bellamy's Bar, bringing the total expenditure on this space to almost £1m.
Nursery providers in the area are under threat of closure and struggling and yet this nursery has practically no one to look after! The Commons nursery offers full time child care for babies and children whose parents work in Parliament including civil servants, MP's and staff working at Westminster. It does seem rather hypocritical at this time of cuts and shortage that one child should be benefiting from the nursery when there are children in the area who don't necessarily have adequate provision.
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