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Rennie: Scottish Government must 'stop sidelining' disadvantaged families

October 4, 2021 5:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP has today told the Scottish Government to "stop sidelining" disadvantaged families, as new information shows the number of 2-year-olds receiving funded childcare decreased in the last six months.

An Improvement Service update published today shows that the number of 2-year-olds reported to be receiving funded ELC in August 2021 was 5,954 children. This is a decrease from the 6,204 reported to be receiving funded childcare in April 2021.

The Scottish Government estimates that around 14,500 2-year-olds are eligible for this entitlement.

Commenting, Willie Rennie said:

"The SNP's childcare offer was supposed to be revolutionary for children and families, but somehow the number of two year olds in funded childcare is actually going down.

"I campaigned hard to convince ministers to extend the offer to two year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. If Ministers could just get this offer out the door, it could make all the difference to children's life chances and attainment. The Scottish Government need to stop sidelining this offer.

"High quality childcare helps families get the best start in life, and helps children thrive. Similar offers elsewhere in the UK have uptake that's twice as high, but children in Scotland are being let down.

"This Challenge Poverty week, ministers should be aiming for better."

ENDS