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Tories attacked over maternity plan

Labour has accused the Conservatives of "conning" new mothers after shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said the party may cut cash for pregnant women in order to pay for extra help after the baby is born.

Earlier this week, Tory leader David Cameron revealed he is considering giving new mothers dedicated maternity nurses in their homes for up to six hours a day in the first week of their babies' lives.

And he has asked Mr Lansley and shadow children's secretary Michael Gove to travel to the Netherlands to see a similar scheme in action.

The Dutch programme gives new mothers someone to turn to for help with breastfeeding and bathing, as well as light household chores, and allows close monitoring of the child's development in the vital first few days.

But Labour says that the Tories have no idea how to fund the programme, which could cost as much as £350m a year if extended to all 670,000 new mothers in England and Wales.

Health minister Ann Keen said: "This is a classic Cameron con.

"A headline-grabbing policy announcement is now quickly followed by the revelation that the Tories have no idea how the policy is to be paid for.

"This is symptomatic of the approach David Cameron takes to politics and policy development - all PR and no substance."

The Conservative Party

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Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"Personally I would have hated having a maternity nurse getting in the way, certain women may benefit but all mothers I believe would benefit more from a supportive health visitor, (whether the mother or child is deemed high risk or not). If this service had not been cut then a maternity nurse would not be an issue at all. Give us back our health visitors and stop making them work as glorified social work assistants” - Hazel, Glasgow