Local MP Jo Swinson has welcomed Confederation of British Industry (CBI) calls to help families by increasing free childcare - plans which have already been set out by the Liberal Democrats.
Thanks to the Liberal Democrats in Government, free nursery education has been expanded to 15 hours a week for all three and four year olds, as well as for two year olds from the most hard pressed homes.
From autumn 2015, 2,450 local families in East Dunbartonshire will benefit from tax-free childcare. However, the SNP Government will only be delivering free childcare to 27% of two year olds from next year, compared with the current rate of 40% of two-year olds in England. The SNP Government were refusing to provide free early years education for any 2 years olds and only relented after 2 years of pressure and campaigning from the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
“Liberal Democrats and businesses both understand that one of the biggest barriers to employment for many people, particularly women, is the sky-high costs of childcare. This is why we have set out plans to go further with free childcare – delivering 20 free hours to all 2 and 4 year olds - if we are returned to government.
“The SNP have failed to match what is being delivered by the Lib Dems for families in England. No child in Scotland should fall behind, and the SNP Government at Holyrood need to match their rhetoric with action.”
Notes to Editors:
1. The Liberal Democrats’ long term ambition, as resources allow, is to deliver the equivalent of 20 free hours to all children between the ages of 2 and 4 years, and to all children between the ages of 9 and 24 months where both parents work.
2. Our first step will be to extend the existing 15 hours for 38 weeks a year to all two year olds. As of September 2014, 40% of two year olds are entitled to this free childcare.
3. The next step would be to extend the 15 hours for 38 weeks a year to all children between the ages of 9 and 24 months where both parents work
4. The final step would be to increase the offering to 20 hours per week for 38 weeks a year - starting with four year olds, then three year olds etc.