Local MP Jo Swinson has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that from August 2014 thousands of two-year-olds in Scotland will be entitled a free childcare place for 15 hours a week.
The free school meal and childcare expansion plan, being funded at a total cost of £114m over two years, was also welcomed by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, a long-time campaigner on the issue.
A similar plan has been underway in England for two years thanks to the Coalition Government.
Commenting, Jo said:
“I am delighted that the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has won the first stage of a campaign to get free childcare places for Scottish two-year-olds. This announcement brings to an end eighteen months of opposition from the SNP Government and I welcome their change of heart.
“The plan for childcare places for two-year-olds in Scotland is an affordable and effective way to help build a fairer society.
“This announcement shows that a strong Scottish Parliament inside the UK can deliver big results for people. But it needs the SNP to stop having the wrong priorities. They should focus on improving life for children rather than just focussing only on independence”.
- From August 2014 around 8,400 two-year-olds children (15% of the total number of that age) will be entitled to a free childcare place in Scotland. This will rise to 15,000 (27%) from August 2015.
- In England the Liberal Democrats have secured funding for 20% from September 2013 and 40% from September 2014. Official figures from the UK Government show that 92,000 are already taking up their places in England.