SNP MSP Colin Beattie has hailed a Scottish Government announcement that promises to commit almost £500 million to expand early learning and childcare provision across Scotland.
Announcing the Scottish Government’s draft budget proposals for 2019/20 in Holyrood last month, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP, outlined the investment that will support the SNP’s plan to almost double the free provision of childcare to 1140 hours from August 2020 for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.
The Scottish Government will also invest £175 million in local authority capital funding in 2019-20 to support the next phase of infrastructure investment - contributing to around 750 new, extended or refurbished nurseries and family centres.
Under the SNP, free childcare has already been increased to 16 hours a week for all three and four-year-olds – up from 12.5 hours in 2007 – and extended to two-year-olds from low income households.
By the end of this parliament, childcare spending will have more than doubled to £990m - saving families over £4,500 per child per year.
Commenting, Colin Beattie, SNP MSP for Midlothian North,said: “This momentous commitment from the SNP to almost double the provision of free childcare will help ensure children across Midlothian are given the best possible start in life.
“Plans to invest almost £500m to support the expansion will help create jobs in the local area, as the Scottish Government look to grow the highly skilled and dedicated childcare workforce here in Midlothian.
“A massive investment in childcare is something that MSPs of all parties can get behind – I hope to see my political opponents back the Finance Secretary’s plans in Parliament next month.”