Parents demand childcare election pledge

Campaigning parents have called on Nicola Sturgeon and the other Holyrood leaders to fix Scotland's 'broken childcare system.'

Picture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL

The SNP is pledging to introduce free full-time childcare by the end of the decade if the party wins the Holyrood election in May.

But the Fair Funding for Our Kids campaign says many parents can’t access the 600 hours they’re entitled to at the moment. This is because packages of 3 hours and 10 minutes a day are available and parents can often be forced to move youngsters to another nursery to keep them in care for a full day. This is seen as impractical for most working parents.

“The fundamental problem is that our childcare system is not a system at all: it is an incoherent collection of policies and structures, built up over two or three decades,” the Fair Funding for our Kids campaign says in a letter to Ms Sturgeon today.

The group praises the SNP’s “excellent aims” of expanding the free school meal programme and to doubling the number of free childcare hours.

But the letter adds: “They must be accompanied by a commitment to deliver the existing entitlement to 600 hours for all families. We do not feel there is political recognition that this policy has not been delivered: instead, the childcare landscape is chaotic and confusing for many families.”

The group has now set out a manifesto for the election calling for all of Scotland’s political parties to commit to transforming Scotland’s childcare system with a “ten year plan” and commit the capital investment that will be required to support the new system.

The organisation was founded two years ago amid concerns that many parents are unable to access their current entitlement of 600 hours.