MSP and Council Leader disagree on £500 million

Monday January 28th 2019

Midlothian's Fairfield House

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. However, Midlothian Council leader, Derek Milligan, says that is “nonsense.”

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 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds.

The Scottish Government say it 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 3 and 4 year olds – up from 12.5 hours in 2007 – and extended to 2 year olds from low income households.

By the end of this parliament, childcare spending will have more than doubled to £990 million – saving families over £4,500 per child per year.

Commenting, Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, 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 £500 million 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.”

However Labour’s Midlothian Council Leader, Derek Milligan told Midlothian View:

“This is just nonsense they have taken the money from Local council budgets then repackaged it and have given some of it back, nothing like it all, to councils who provide the additional child care.”

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