FIVE areas in Caerphilly are set to be included in an expansion pilot of the Welsh Government’s childcare offer from January next year.

Abercarn, Crosskeys, Risca East, Risca West, and Ynysddu will be included in the plan for 30 hours of free early education and childcare to working parents of three and four year olds for 48 weeks of the year.

Urban areas in the local authority, such as Blackwood, Newbridge, Crumlin and some smaller communities, have already been included in the pilot, as has the entirety of Blaenau Gwent.

Huw Irranca-Davies, the children’s minister, said: “In September 2017, we began delivery of our groundbreaking and ambitious Childcare Offer in seven early implementer local authorities across Wales, ready for full roll-out across Wales by the end of this Assembly term.

“I’m really pleased with the strong interest the offer has received from parents so far.

“Parents are already telling us it’s making a difference to their lives, reducing the strain on family income and helping ensure childcare is not a barrier to them taking up employment or increasing their hours.

“I’m delighted to announce that I’ve given the go-ahead for the pilots to be expanded into new areas across Wales.”