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Leslie warns that SNP must do more to help families with childcare costs

October 3, 2013 4:59 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat by-election candidate Susan Leslie has warned that SNP Ministers have the wrong priorities for families in Dunfermline after meeting staff and students at a local nursery.

Speaking after a visit at Lauriston Nursery in Dunfermline with Scottish Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Alistair Carmichael MP, Ms Leslie called on the SNP to do more to help parents struggling with the cost of childcare.

Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals would see thousands of two year olds across Scotland receive 15 hours of free care per week. This is in line with the support that has been available to families in England since the start of September as a result of Liberal Democrats in government.

In Fife, around 1,700 children would stand to benefit from the Liberal Democrat childcare plans.

Commenting, Ms Leslie said:

"As a parent myself I know just how difficult some families find it to afford the sort of quality childcare that we saw at the nursery today.

"That is why Liberal Democrats in government have worked to introduce free care for 40% of children in England, starting with those from poorer backgrounds. This is vital support which will help ensure that children have every chance to get on in life.

"Willie Rennie told the SNP how they could do the same for families in Scotland. They have chosen not to act and tell parents that they need to wait for independence to get better childcare. This is simply not good enough. There is no reason why families in Dunfermline should have to wait to get this extra help.

"It seems that the SNP will not give parents the support they need until they get what they want. It is no surprise that people tell me that they think the SNP have the wrong priorities for Dunfermline."

Scottish Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Alistair Carmichael MP added:

"Susan is a hard-working candidate with a real record of action for families in Fife. As a former teacher and a parent she understands the challenges facing families in Dunfermline. As MSP she would stand up for families at Holyrood.

"When it comes to childcare, the facts here speak for themselves. The SNP have been told how they could provide free care to 1,700 children in Fife. They have chosen not to act."

Ewan Cameron, owner of Lauriston Nursery, added:

"We were pleased to welcome Susan Leslie and Alistair Carmichael to our nursery this afternoon. Susan and Alistair share our commitment to quality early years care. We know what a difference this help can make for children and parents.

"It was great to have the chance to talk to Susan about the training opportunities we offer our staff but also the challenges that we face. We all want to see a thriving early years sector but locally we have had trouble with rates and other things which have made it difficult for many businesses.

"Ministers need to ensure that early years care is a priority and I am pleased that Liberal Democrats have put this issue right at the top of the agenda for this by-election."