Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie had today used a visit to Lauriston nursery in Dunfermline to announce his party's plans for delivering a massive expansion of free, high-quality childcare.
The offer will give every child 35 hours a week of care 48 weeks a year from 9 months old to when they start school. Under a Liberal Democrat Government, Scotland will receive at least £1.2 billion every year for this to enable the Scottish Parliament to offer free, high-quality childcare for every child from when their parents go back to work.
Willie Rennie said:
"Childcare is too expensive. Unaffordable childcare prevents too many parents from working and contributes to the gender pay gap. A lack of early years education means that disadvantaged children are behind their peers by the time they start school.
"The other parties have turned their backs on families. Their existing provision of 30 free hours a week isn’t enough for working parents, and it doesn’t start until the child turns 3 – more than 2 years after the end of paid parental leave.
"Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future with childcare that is flexible, affordable and fair. We will support families as they juggle the demand of modern life, by giving them more choice over how they organise their lives. And we will improve social mobility with early years education – the most effective way of narrowing the gap between rich and poor children."