Local MP Jo Swinson is urging the SNP to reflect on their position in Scotland after yesterday’s announcement by the UK government that it will extend free childcare to 20 percent of two year olds.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that 130,000 two-year-olds from some of the poorest families will be eligible for free childcare in England and this will extend to 40 percent of two-year-olds by next September.
Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently called on the SNP to adopt costed and reasonable proposals to extend childcare to 40 percent of two year olds beginning with those from poorer backgrounds. Last month Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP held a summit in the Scottish Parliament on nursery education in Scotland. The summit brought together over thirty experts in early education policy to discuss what needs to be done to boost the support offered to children and families in Scotland.
Commenting Jo said:
“As of today, 130,000 two-year-olds from some of the poorest families will benefit from this policy in England with the number of two-year-olds set to benefit rising to 260,000 next year. This means 40 per cent of two-year-olds will be eligible for free childcare in England by next September however in Scotland the SNP’s policy on free nursery care will benefit only 1 percent of two-year-olds. I am concerned that this gap in provision could lock in a gap in attainment.
“The SNP need to match free childcare provision with what’s available south of the border. It is surely imperative that Scotland’s two-year-olds are not left behind.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently put forward costed and reasonable plans to extend free nursery provision to more two-year-olds, beginning with those from the poorest backgrounds. Last month Willie Rennie held a summit on nursery education in the Scottish Parliament, bringing together those with a range of different expertise and experience in the sector. The message was clear: we can and must do more.”