A Citizens Advice report has revealed some damning figures on childcare provision in Scotland, and East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson is calling on the Scottish Government to take immediate action.
Childcare in Scotland is “unaffordable and unavailable” according to the Citizens Advice Bureau. Scottish parents now spend 27% of their income on childcare, compared to just 12% in other developed countries. Worryingly, only 23% of Scotland’s Local Authorities felt that there was enough childcare for working parents in their area, compared with 54% of English Local Authorities.
Jo is backing Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie’s calls for the creation of a new childcare taskforce so that bold plans for childcare can be delivered along with the new powers for Scotland following the Smith Commission.
Commenting, Jo said:
“This report will make uncomfortable reading for the Scottish Government. The costs of childcare are too high and there is a serious lack of places.
“From autumn 2015, 2,450 local families in East Dunbartonshire will benefit from tax-free childcare. However, the SNP Government will only be delivering free childcare to 27% of two year olds from next year, compared with the current rate of 40% of two-year olds in England. The SNP Government were refusing to provide free early years education for any 2 years olds and only relented after 2 years of pressure and campaigning from the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
“Nicola Sturgeon recently announced 12 new bills to be brought before Holyrood and a ‘radical’ plan for government. Nowhere was childcare mentioned. It’s time the SNP pulled their finger out and match what the Liberal Democrats are delivering in England.”
Notes to editors
The report can be read here: http://www.cas.org.uk/system/files/publications/WAE%20Childcare%20December%202014_FINAL.pdf