Scottish Government to double childcare spending
“Transformational” expansion of free early learning and childcare
Spending on childcare will double to £840 million a year by 2021-22 in a bid to transform the life chances of children in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday. The funding boost has been welcomed by local MSP Ben Macpherson.
Ms Sturgeon has reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to invest in a near doubling of entitlement to 1140 hours – around 30 hours a week – of free early learning and childcare from August 2020.
The move will ensure high-quality learning and care is available for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds and is expected to save parents around £350 per child, per month.
The First Minister said: “Our expansion of nursery education is truly transformational.
“Currently we deliver around 16 hours of early education and childcare a week – that’s already an expansion. But some parents still struggle to find and fund the childcare they need to allow them to work. We are going to change that.
“By 2020, we will deliver 30 hours a week for every three and four year old and eligible two year olds. It will give children the best start in life. It will free parents to find work. And each month it will save families around £350 per child on the costs of childcare.
“Over the past few months, we have undertaken detailed work to assess the investment needed. Right now, we invest around £420 million a year. By the end of this Parliament, that will double to £840 million a year.
“That is the kind of real, practical help that young parents need.”
Free early learning and childcare is currently available to all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds. The Scottish Government will work with local government this autumn to agree a multi-year funding package to deliver the expansion.
Northern and Leith MSP Ben Macpherson has welcomed the announcement. He said: “This expansion of childcare and early learning will help transform the lives of young people in Edinburgh. “We know that some parents continue to struggle with childcare costs to allow them to work – and this expansion will help change that.
“Delivering 30 hours a week of free childcare for every 3 and 4 year old in Scotland, as well as eligible 2 year olds, will help give children across Edinburgh the very best start in life, and play a vital role in our efforts to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.
“The fact that this announcement comes so soon after the recently launched Scottish baby box, and the decision to remove nursery premises from business rates altogether, underlines the SNP’s commitment to helping young people across Scotland.
“The move will help parents back into work, as well as saving them around £350 per child, per month, on childcare costs. This doubling of investment, from £420 million to £840 million every year by 2021-22, is exactly the kind of support and progressive action that the SNP Government continues to deliver for Scotland.”