Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today criticised the Scottish Government after local government representatives admitted that they have ‘no idea’ how much funding they will receive to deliver the government’s expansion of childcare.
Speaking to today’s education committee, local government representatives highlighted concerns that the Scottish Government’s 2020 timescale for new childcare hours will be difficult to achieve because ministers have not yet provided any information on capital allocations for upcoming years. Peter Macleod, Director of Children's Services at Renfrewshire Council, said that capital plans giving local government more of an idea about how the expansion of early years childcare will be funded were needed ‘as soon as possible’.
Speaking after the committee Mr Scott said:
“I don’t think there’s anyone who didn’t see this coming. Local authorities are being asked to deliver SNP manifesto promises with no information on what resources will be available to them. Many councils already anticipate funding cuts in the forthcoming budget.
“Local authorities will need to recruit up to 20,000 new workers and build new nursery classes across Scotland to deliver this commitment. Unless SNP ministers can deliver more clarity and more resources these targets will remain just that – targets..
“We need a significant investment in education to expand childcare, address the attainment gap and ensure children get the best start in life.”