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Scottish government must set out plans to expand childcare provision

April 1, 2014 5:19 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrats have pressed the Scottish Government to seWillie RennieWillie Renniet out when they will expand free childcare provision even further.

The call came after the Finance Secretary failed to use additional funds from the UK Government's Budget to bring Scotland's childcare provision for two year olds in line with that of England's.

During a budget statement by Finance Secretary, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume pressed the Finance Secretary to explain why the expansion had not been included.

Currently the SNP Government has committed to deliver free childcare to 27 percent of two year olds, beginning with those from poorer backgrounds. This is still short of the 40 percent of two year olds who benefit from free childcare provision in England thanks to Liberal Democrats in the UK government.

At Scottish Liberal Democrat spring conference in Aberdeen this weekend, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie used his conference speech to urge Finance Secretary John Swinney to use the additional funds to expand childcare provision in line with Liberal Democrat calls.

Speaking after today's Budget statement, Mr Rennie said:

"It is disappointing that the expansion of childcare was a no show in the Finance Secretary's budget announcement. I want to bring childcare provision in line with that of England's where 40 percent of two year olds, beginning with those from poorer backgrounds, benefit from free childcare. Two year olds cannot wait forever. John Swinney must tell parents when he will listen to my calls to build a fairer society and expand free childcare so that more children are given the best start in life."