Childcare policy praised

An independent watchdog has praised the Scottish Government for the implementation of its flagship free childcare expansion policy.

Audit Scotland has said that the majority of infrastructure projects and recruitment required to implement the 1,140-hour expansion for three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds has been successfully completed.

Across South Lanarkshire, 5,939 under 5s have benefitted from the 1,140 hours policy which has so far supported 92,615 children in Scotland.

This appraisal came in the same week that new figures showed 303,000 children are in receipt of the Scottish Government’s “game changing” Scottish Child Payment which gives families £25 a week, per eligible child, straight to their pockets.

In South Lanarkshire, more than 15,000 families have been supported by the payment with £15 million being paid out to applicants in the region.

This week, an IPPR report also praised the Scottish Government’s ELC policy for its positive impact in tackling poverty, citing that at least 10,000 people were held above the poverty line, over 2017–20, by the incomes earned while children were in free childcare.

Commenting, Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley said:

“It is great to see the SNP’s action on supporting families making a difference, with the news that the 1140-hour free childcare expansion has been fully implemented and the IPPR report highlighting that the Scottish Government’s action on free childcare is having a positive impact on poverty.

“This progressive policy is stopping families in Lanark and Hamilton East from paying through the nose for childcare at a time when other bills are continuously rising as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

“While the Tory government has presided over a decade of austerity and cuts, the Scottish Government has taken bold action to raise people out of poverty, but while key powers remain in Westminster’s grip, there is only so far we can go.

“Only with independence can Scotland escape the harm of Tory governments at Westminster for good, and build a fairer, wealthier country that puts families and child welfare at its heart.”