“Over the last few years the SNP Government has made huge strides in childcare provision but what we have achieved so far is just the start”, said Stuart McMillan – SNP candidate for Greenock & Inverclyde, commenting on the SNP plans to boost childcare.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon highlighted that only the SNP has the track record and a credible plan to deliver a revolution in childcare – and described the significant progress of the last few years as “just the start.”
The First Minister was commenting as an Ipsos Mori opinion poll commissioned by the BBC found that the SNP’s childcare pledge was one of the most popular policies of the election campaign – attracting an average support of 7.3 on a 1 to 10 scale.
The SNP has committed to doubling the current availability of childcare for three and four years olds and vulnerable two year olds to 1,140 hours – or 30 hours a week – and to double the annual revenue funding spent on childcare to almost £900m by the end of the next Parliament. This commitment would potentially save families over £3,000 per child per year by 2021.
The SNP has also set out plans to pilot more flexible approaches to childcare to better suit the needs of families.
The SNP leader said that, despite the huge importance which families across Scotland place on this issue, no other party in this election had put forward credible, detailed plans for childcare in the next Parliament.
Commenting, Ms Sturgeon said:
“We’ve increased free childcare by almost half – from 412 hours to 600 hours, as well as extending it to vulnerable 2-year-olds. This is of course on top of other significant investments we are making in our youngest children, with all children in Primaries 1 to 3 now entitled to a free school meal.
Stuart McMillan added:
“If the SNP is re-elected next month, the most transformational infrastructure investment the next SNP Government makes will not be in any road or bridge – it will be a revolution in childcare provision.
“We’ll almost double the current availability to 1,140 hours – or 30 hours a week. As we do this, we’ll focus just as much on quality as on quantity, with investment in teaching skills – especially in our most deprived areas – as well as in bricks and mortar. And we will provide lunch for all those children receiving thirty hours of childcare.
“This opinion poll shows just how important this issue is for families the length and breadth of Scotland, and this election campaign has demonstrated that only the SNP is making childcare provision a key priority for the next Parliament.”