Plans to double Scots childcare must be brought back

The Scottish Government has been urged to set out a timescale for the introduction of flagship plans to double free state childcare in Scotland to 1140 hours.

Childcare plans must be brought back say Tories

The Tories say the measure is needed to allow parents to get back to work in the aftermath of the Coronavirus lockdown.

The measure, which would double the current free provision from 600 to 1140 hours was scheduled to come into force in August. But it was shelved at the end of March just after lockdown was introduced to allow hard-pressed councils to focus on their Covid response.

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Tory education spokesman Jamie Greene has now written to the Children's minister Maree Todd asking when the obligation will be reintroduced.

“After three months of lockdown, it is abundantly clear that without reliable childcare parents simply cannot get back to work,” he said.

“The promised expansion of funded childcare to 1140 hours was something that nurseries have already been working towards and parents were depending on.

“The SNP government must now clarify when this commitment will be reintroduced so that nurseries can plan and parents can work.

“In addition, nurseries who have already spent money updating premises and hiring staff must not lose out."

Mr Greene says he has been informed that a number of councils are now unable to honour their previous commitments to provide the expanded, funded hours.

This could lead to a reduction in provision in the private, voluntary and independent sector which in turn could add to the burden of provision on council-provided childcare settings.

Even before the pledge had been shelved, there had been question about whether it would be delivered amid question marks over staffing and buildings.

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