Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today said that the "terrible" take up rate shows that the SNP have failed to deliver flexible childcare for two year olds, as new figures revealed that as of April 2021, just 6,204 children of the estimated 14,500 2-year-olds eligible for free early learning and childcare were using the entitlement.
The figures were revealed as part of a Scottish Government progress report published this morning. The report notes:
- “variability at a local level” in terms of staffing.
- Just 69% of all capital projects are now complete, delivering 60% of the total planned additional space.
- only 595 of the 918 capital projects are forecast to be required to deliver 1140 from August. The remainder are being developed to increase flexibility. Of the 595 projects required for August, it is forecast that 90% will be complete by August 2021.
Willie Rennie said:
"More than 8,000 two-year-olds are missing out on their childcare entitlement.
"That terrible take up rate shows that the SNP have failed to deliver flexible childcare for those who could benefit from it most.
“If the offer is going to be meaningful, families need to actually be able to make use of it. There’s a big difference between having the technical capacity for 1,140 hours and the actual capacity at the times and places that parents need.
"High quality, flexible childcare is essential for delivering a thriving economy and the best start in life for a generation of young people.”