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Clegg calls for new attitudes to family-friendly working

NICK CLEGG will today demand a culture change across British industry to tackle "old-fashioned attitudes" to flexible, family- friendly working practices.

The Deputy Prime Minister will say that despite efforts to introduce flexible parental leave and extend free childcare, there are "hidden prejudices" which can limit women's career ambitions and men's time with their families.

He will urge parents and teachers to inspire girls to focus on high-flying careers and insist that Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands have shown that it is possible to have family-friendly working and remain competitive.

Mr Clegg will say in London that "radical change" is needed, including sweeping away the "Edwardian rules" which hold back working families.

As well as measures to improve access to childcare, including the tax break worth up to £2000 due to come into effect next autumn, Mr Clegg will highlight the changes allowing fathers to share parental leave from April next year.

He will say that changes to the law are "only the start" and culturally a more family-friendly Britain cannot be built without looking at the world differently.

Mr Clegg will say: "We need to tackle once and for all the hidden prejudices which still limit the choices of many men and women. And we need to create the same equal opportunities for both sexes to care as well as earn. We've got to tear down those barriers which still prevent too many brilliant women from reaching the top of their professions."

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