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Scottish Childcare “Not Enough” For Many Working Families

Less than one in six councils have enough childcare needs to meet the needs of working parents according to a recent study.

The Family and Childcare Trust said in a report that only 15% of local authorities in Scotland had enough resources to care for children of parents who worked full time, down from 23% in 2013.

Current Policy

The Scottish Government has a statutory duty to provide free childcare for three and four-year-olds regardless of their situation.

Recent legislation passed by the government made it compulsory for councils to offer choice and flexibility to all parents in their childcare provider, however some families are struggling to get any childcare due to the lack of service and the lack of flexibility.

Reality Isn’t Feasible

According to research from The Family and Childcare Trust study, few Scottish local authorities thought they had a "sufficiency" of childcare.

One of the lead researchers on the project, Jill Rutter said: "The sufficiency issue is far more acute in Scotland than it is in England.

"It is partly because Scotland has a far higher proportion of inflexible public sector provision.

"It is also more difficult to deliver childcare in sparsely populated rural areas and deprived urban areas.

"In England there have been a number of initiatives to deliver more flexibility for working parents."

Unable to Get Childcare

Despite many councils believing that their childcare provisions were acceptable, many parents stated that they were unable to get free child care at all, with some paying considerable amounts for flexible childcare.

Nicola Sturgeon stated: "From August next year, that entitlement will extend to 27% of two-year-olds as well.

“That is more hours of childcare than in any other part of the UK and we should be proud of that.

"But so important is good quality, extensive childcare to the school performance and life chances of young people, that we will go further still."

Rising Cost

Despite the pledge for free childcare, many parents are unable to get such care even though their child is eligible for care. Only 15% of councils in Scotland are able to provide adequate care. The same survey found that 43% of nurseries in England could provide 600 hours of free, flexible childcare.

Although the number of nurseries meeting government standings are falling, the cost of childcare in Scotland is rising, with the average cost of care for a child under two rising by 4% in a year.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The cost of childcare can be a real challenge for families.

“That's why we have committed £329m to expand free early learning and childcare for three and four-year-olds by almost half to 600 hours.

"We have also targeted the most vulnerable and hard-pressed families of two-year-olds and given them access to free nursery places for the first time.

"We will move forward with even more ambitious plans for the future to increase funded hours from 16 to 30 hours a week - the same as amount of time as children spend in primary school - by the end of the next parliament."

"This huge expansion goes hand in hand with new flexibility.”

Contact Us

If you require legal advice if your child has suffered from a lack of childcare, been injured as a result of negligence in a nursery, require representation regarding #mce_temp_url#custody. or if you need guidance on any aspect of family law, our team of expert solicitors are here to help. Contact us today using our online contact form.

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