Rachael Hamilton MSP has expressed her concern over the latest Scottish Government announcement that 1140 hours of funded childcare won’t be delivered until August 2021.
The Scottish Government used the COVID-19 crisis to postpone the obligation for local authorities to offer parents the expanded childcare.
Last year, Audit Scotland warned that hitting the August 2020 deadline was in jeopardy due to slow progress on the infrastructure required to fulfil the commitment, namely shortages of buildings and staffing levels.
Scottish Borders Council have been working to ensure that children receive their entitlement, yet the Scottish Government has ‘dragged their heels’ on progress with the implementation of more funded childcare and this is having an impact on working families.
Many childcare providers have contacted the Borders MSP with concerns over the rollout, particularly in private settings.
Mrs Hamilton has commended SBC on their progress but believes more support must come from the Scottish Government in Edinburgh to support further rollout to 1140 hours.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said:
“Despite what they say, the SNP have made poor progress on delivering 1140 hours of funded childcare.
“The Scottish Borders Council has worked to ensure parents receive what they are entitled to, but we need to see the SNP Government step up to the mark.
“The SNP were already running months - if not years - behind way before the pandemic hit in delivering the necessary infrastructure.
“The private nursery sector has been hit hard financially and the SNP Government doesn’t listen to their concerns.
“Whilst we are all currently dealing with the immediate threat of this virus, as soon as practical, the SNP Government must make good on their original promise of 1140 hours of free childcare which many parents will desperately be relying on in future.”