Jamie challenges SNP on childcare

Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has challenged John Swinney on the return of childcare following the Education Secretary’s announcement that schools should plan to re-open on a full-time basis from August.

Mr Halcro Johnston, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Education, pressed Mr Swinney on re-opening nurseries and ensuring that private nurseries were financially viable as Scotland emerges from lockdown.

Speaking after the statement, Jamie Halcro Johnston said:

“The SNP’s u-turn on schools reopening full-time in August will be welcome news to parents, to pupils and to teachers across Scotland.

“But for many parents, their options around childcare have disappeared. Many are now forced to juggle home-working with home-learning. This is not simply exhausting, but can have a major impact on mental health as well as the ability of people to do their jobs and keep money flowing into their household.

“Many will have been working during this time too – and have had to rely on grandparents, friends and other arrangements. As people increasingly returning to work, this will only become more acute.

“Parents cannot wait until August for nurseries and childcare providers to re-open. Many private nurseries, unable to provide a service, are also facing closure as they simply cannot operate.  

“We need action now – and a clear commitment from the Scottish Government to continue its work to introduce 1140 hours of funded childcare. I am pleased the Cabinet Secretary has said that childcare provision will be discussed by the First Minister tomorrow – but that must include announcements that will ensure nurseries can re-open and that parents can get back to work as lockdown eases.”