Only a re-elected SNP government will transform childcare, SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today.
Ms Sturgeon said the SNP would build on the work we have already begun and increase childcare to 30 hours per week – as well as boost flexibility with a greater role for childminders.
The First Minister also pledged that all nurseries in deprived areas would benefit from an additional childcare or teaching graduate by 2018.
The SNP’s transformational investment in childcare will see a further 20,000 childcare staff trained and recruited and 600 new childcare facilities constructed over the next five years.
Ms Sturgeon said:
“With the election now just over a week away the SNP is the only party with a clear plan to transform childcare in Scotland and give parents and children the support they need.
“I know that a key issue facing families is childcare costs and the need for more flexible services.
“Over the last parliament we increased the availability of free childcare and we will go further still – with 30 hours a week of childcare provision for all three and four years olds, and any vulnerable two year olds – regardless of whether their parents are in work.
“By the end of the next Parliament this will help save families around £3,000 per child each year and help many parents return to work or increase their hours.
“With more childcare staff, more childminders and new facilities, a re-elected SNP government will ensure all of Scotland’s children get the start they need.
"As part of the expansion to thirty hours a week, we will provide free lunches for those children in early years education.
“Investing in early years can transform the lives of our children and boost our economy by helping people back into work.
“It is one of the best investments we can make, and that is why if I am elected as First Minister I guarantee that by the end of the parliament an SNP Government will invest £500 million in childcare each year to help all of our young children.”