SNP pledges extension to funded ELC 

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has released its manifesto for the upcoming May elections including promises on childcare. SNP logo

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP, has pledged to expand free early learning and childcare to all one and two-year-olds, if they win the next election.

She also plans to create a wraparound childcare system all year round, this would be free to those on lowest incomes with others making fair but affordable contributions.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA Scotland, said: “We welcome any commitment to invest in children’s learning and supporting families. We know that access to high quality early learning and childcare can make a huge difference to children’s life chances.

“There are serious challenges about the funding arrangements for the existing offer for eligible two-year-olds and all three and four-year-olds. The next Scottish Government must make sure any expansion plans to existing childcare commitments are fully costed in line with increased delivery costs. Without the right funding, nurseries will become unsustainable and won’t be there to support families or deliver the high quality ELC that children need. 

“The sector must be fully consulted and engaged with to make sure any expansion plans can be delivered. This must not be done on the cheap and the quality of early learning cannot be compromised. Funding for children should follow that child to the childcare setting that parents choose.

“Getting ELC right for Scotland’s children means ensuring the funding is right, follows the child to the provider that meets families’ needs and those working with children on the front line are fully supported.”

Nicola Sturgeon said: ““Despite the logistical challenges thrown up over the last year, I am pleased that we will complete the expansion of free, high-quality childcare to 1,140 hours by August of this year.

“But that is not the limit of our ambitions. We will build a year-round system of wraparound childcare, which will provide care before and after school. We’ll ensure that those on the lowest incomes pay nothing, with others making a fair and affordable contribution.

“For many, this will make the difference between not being able to afford to work because of high childcare costs and being able to work or work longer, raising family incomes as a result.”

Read the manifesto here.