There are serious flaws in the SNP’s childcare rollout that are putting the entire 1,140 hours policy at risk. Recently, more than 200 nurseries from the Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sector have written to Nicola Sturgeon about unfair pay disparities caused by her government’s 1,140 hours policy. However, the PVI nursery sector has been financially struggling and ignored for years. The Scottish Conservatives back these nurseries and urge Nicola Sturgeon to take action immediately before nurseries are forced to reduce their open hours or shut completely.
Furthermore, the SNP’s rollout of this policy is not delivering the choice and flexibility that many families need. The current childcare rollout stops when children go to school which is less hours than childcare.
The Scottish Conservatives believe it is important to support parents who wish to return to the workplace when their child begins primary school. This is why we have pledged to deliver 195 hours of wraparound childcare per year, equivalent to five hours per week, for all pupils in primary 1-3. This could be used to fund a variety of after-school activities, which provide essential additional childcare for many working parents.
The Scottish Conservatives have always supported the increase to 1,140 hours of free childcare. The importance of ensuring this policy is both funded properly, and delivered equally between the PVI and public sector, is not something we will let the SNP forget.