Cameron pledges extra healthcare workers for families

Conservative leader David Cameron pledged extra help for families instead of tax cuts in a speech today.

Mr Cameron wants to recruit 4,200 new NHS health visitors, guaranteeing new parents a minimum 23 hours’ support during the first year of their child’s life.

In a speech at the party’s spring conference in Gateshead, Mr Cameron said: “Families should be the most important thing in our country’s life.”

Mr Cameron would scrap government plans to hire new SureStart centre workers to raise the £200 million needed for the 50 per cent boost in numbers.

In the speech, Mr Cameron said: “We’ll never get to the heart of the big problems we worry about – whether it’s crime, or anti-social behaviour, or children leaving school without the qualifications they need – unless we do all we can to give every child the best start in life, and that means doing all we can to support families and parents.”

New parents currently spend an average of just four hours and six minutes with health visitors in their child’s first year, he said.

The Tories will ensure new parents receive two hours’ help in the weeks before the birth, at least six hours in the baby’s first two weeks, one contact a fortnight up to six months and one a month for the rest of the year.

The Conservatives hope the family-friendly policy will help boost support for the party, after shadow chancellor George Osborne conceded on Friday there would be little room for traditional Tory tax-cuts in the event of an election win due to high government borrowing.

Mr Cameron came under fire for allowing TV crews into his home to show his family having breakfast on Thursday in a bid to appeal to families.