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SNP must stop stonewalling over local progress reports on childcare expansion

October 2, 2019 1:00 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has today demanded that the Scottish Government reveal local breakdowns showing the progress of their flagship childcare expansion as she accused the SNP of stonewalling over the release of the data.

Through a parliamentary question and a freedom of information request, Scottish Liberal Democrats have requested that the national figures set out in a childcare expansion report published this summer are broken down locally. However, this appeal for the council-by-council data has been repeatedly denied by childcare minister Maree Todd. The refusal to provide the information has been appealed.

Ms Wishart said:

"The Scottish Government reluctantly published national level data on the childcare expansion but they are reluctant to let the public or Parliament see which local authorities are progressing well and which need extra help to deliver.

"We know that the August 2018 target for additional graduates to join nurseries in the most deprived areas is still being missed. The rollout of free hours for 2-year-olds is behind where it needs to be too.

"Parents will want to know whether nursery places in their area will be available to them or whether the Scottish Government is again making promises it cannot keep.

"Ministers should not be stonewalling this kind of basic information. Scottish Liberal Democrat worked hard to convince the Scottish Government that investment in early years would pay dividends in closing the poverty-related attainment gap. We will continue to demand better for parents keen to see this policy delivered."