Claims made by nationalist leader Alex Salmond have caused SNP promises to transform free childcare to fall apart barely hours after they were made.
Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, Mr Salmond brought the viability of his white paper promise under further doubt after he said that the policy would be funded both through women returning to work and through savings made as part of his independence plans.
The comments contrast the nationalists’ previous position that the policy would be wholly self-funding yet refused to publish any modelling showing a direct link between the two.
Speaking whilst on a tour of the Highlands today, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said the shifting sands of the nationalists’ promises showed they will say and do anything to achieve their independence plans.
Mr Rennie said:
“Alex Salmond’s claims have thrown doubt on his party’s promises on childcare barely hours after they were made. He expects every single parent in Scotland to believe his childcare plan is credible but behind the shiny promise there is no substance.
“First they refused to show us any credible modelling showing exactly how the policy would be self-funding. Today he says that his plans would be delivered from savings in the white paper – the money from which he has already allocated many times to many different policy pledges. This is the stuff of nonsense and parents deserve better.
“The shifting sands of the nationalists promises shows that they will say and do anything to achieve independence. While Alex Salmond causes the SNP’s own policy to crumble, he still hasn’t set out any real plan to tackle the £6 billion of spending cuts or tax increases which the independent IFS says an independent Scotland would need to continue to deliver public services.
“People are already voting in this referendum and still Alex Salmond is making promises which stand in the way of fact. How will this policy be funded? People deserve more than a single page in the white paper setting out vague numbers. As part of the UK, we can shape our own policy on childcare whilst sharing risk and reward across the UK. Alex Salmond should tell voters why they should risk that opportunity.”