MORE than £100,000 is to be invested in childcare in areas including Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly.

Last year the Welsh Government announced three and four-year-olds in seven areas of Wales would be offered 30 hours a week of free childcare and education from September this year.

Now economy secretary Ken Skates has announced more than £100,000 is being invested into piloting the scheme in Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly, as well as Flintshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Gwynedd and Anglesey.

Mr Skates said: "Developing a flexible childcare offer is a top priority for the Welsh Government, and one vital element of the challenge is ensuring the necessary childcare places are available to families right across the country."

He added: "It will also be used to improve the business support available to the sector including child minders and to help businesses improve how they manage their finances and grow sustainably.

Communities secretary Carl Sargeant said: "Access to affordable, high quality childcare enables parents to work, thereby increasing economic growth and helping to tackle poverty."