Over 60,000 two year olds each year could benefit from free childcare in Scotland by 2020, under major plans unveiled by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP today.
Mr Rennie, who has led a successful campaign in Scotland for the SNP to expand free childcare, today said the proposals were a once in a lifetime opportunity for more young people to get the best start in life.
It comes after the UK Liberal Democrats manifesto launched today set out plans to deliver at least 20 hours of free childcare a week for all parents with children aged two-four years, and all working parents from the end of paid parental leave (nine months) to two years.
Speaking on a visit to the Early Days Nursery in Edinburgh West with local Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Crockart, Mr Rennie said:
“In Scotland, 14,000 two year olds have missed out on free childcare because the SNP failed to match the provision delivered in England by Liberal Democrats in coalition.
“Today I am setting out a once in a lifetime opportunity for all two year olds – some 60,000 each year - to benefit from free childcare by 2020.
“That’s a big difference in provision which could make a big difference to the opportunities for children in Scotland.
“It will build a fairer society and in turn create a stronger economy. It can only happen by returning Liberal Democrat MPs in each of our eleven held seats.
“The SNP in the Scottish Government failed to keep up with free childcare across the UK because they took their eye off the ball. As a result, too many two year olds missed out.
"When they miss out once, they miss out forever.
“Our exciting plans will build upon our record and create opportunity for all.
"This will not only help parents afford to work, it will help all children start school confident, happy and ready to learn."