Q: HOW MUCH WILL IT COST? A: ERMM...
Emma Barnett: How much will it cost to provide unmeans-tested childcare for 1.3million children?
Jeremy Corbyn: Erm… it will cost… erm… it will obviously cost a lot to do so, we accept that... EB: I presume you have the figures? JC: Yes I do. Erm… we’ll… it does cost a lot to do, and the point I’ m trying to make is that we’re making it universal, so that we are in a position to make sure that every child gets it and those than can erm… err… at the moment [coughs] get free places will continue to get them, those that have to pay won’t, and we’ll collect the money through taxation, mainly through corporate taxation. EB: So how much will it cost? JC: I’ll give you the figure in a moment. [loud exhale] EB: You don’t know it? JC: Erm… [nervous laugh] EB: You’re logging in to your iPad here. You’ve announced a major policy, and you don’t know how much it will cost?
JC: Can I give you the exact figure in a moment?
EB: Is this not exactly the issue with people and the Labour Party which came up under Gordon Brown, that we cannot trust you with our money? JC: Not at all – all our... EB: But you don’t know the figure.
JC: All of our manifesto is, erm, fully costed and examined. And… err… [Interrupted]
EB: But you’re holding your manifesto, you’re flicking through it, you’ve got an iPad there, you’ve had a phone call while we’re in here, and you don’t know how much it’s going to cost? JC: [Long pause] Can we come back to that in a moment? EB: What when you’ve looked it up? JC: Look ... [Interrupted] EB: My point is – it’s quite troubling. This is a policy you’re launching today Mr Corbyn and you don’t know how much it’s going to cost. JC: [Loud exhale] EB: It hardly inspires the voters. JC: [Loud exhale] I want to give you an accurate figure. EB: Why on earth are you giving free childcare to people who could afford it, if it’s unmeans-tested. You don’t have the figure. Hopefully someone’s emailing it to you.
JC: [Sigh] The important thing is that all children get a chance to grow up together. At the moment we have a system which separates out, in the sense that a child of, erm, wealthy parents may well be able to go to a paid-for preschool or nursery facility. Others will not get that chance because their parents can’t afford it or if they’re poor they’ll get a free place. What we’re… EB: This is a very expensive policy, Mr Corbyn. I’m going to help you out with the figures. I’ve got them. Would you like to hear how much it’s going to cost? JC: What is your estimate of it? [Repeatedly clearing throat] EB: Well it’s actually Angela Rayner, your shadow education secretary. £2.7billion. Then £4.8billion plus that with half a billion to reverse the cuts to the Sure Start scheme. Does that sound about right? JC: It does sound correct.
Caught out: Jeremy Corbyn reaches for his iPad in the studio