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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Scottish independence: SNP promise ‘childcare revolution’

Written by The Editorial Team

Families will save up to £4,600 per child under SNP plans to extend free childcare in an independent Scotland.

The policy is in the Scottish Government's White Paper on independence, which sets out the Nationalists' vision for the country in the event of a Yes vote next year.

The SNP administration has pledged to provide 600 hours of childcare to around half of the country's two-year-olds in its first budget, should it be returned to power in the first independent Scottish Parliament.

By the end of the first parliament, it says it will ensure that all three and four-year-olds and vulnerable two-year-olds are entitled to 1,140 hours of childcare a year - the same amount of time children spend at primary school.

By the end of the second parliament, the SNP administration says it plans to extend this to ensure all children aged from one to school age will be entitled to 1,140 hours a year, saving families up to £4,600 per child.

The Scottish Government says the move will benefit around 240,000 children and could create as many as 35,000 childcare jobs.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: " As we progressively expand childcare, the tax revenue generated would pay for further expansion. Without independence however, that revenue would leave Scotland, go to Westminster and not be available to fund the further expansion we need.

"With independence, we would keep this revenue here in Scotland to reinvest it in childcare for all, a model we know from countries such as Netherlands works well for children's development, female participation in the labour market and the wider economy."