The importance of childcare is recognised as having the potential to be a transformative economic policy for Scotland, which would grow our economy and cut inequality if delivered effectively.
Our aim is that parents will, increasingly, be able to take their hours as full day sessions as well as half days, and they will have the right to spread these hours over the summer holidays as well as during term time.
What would Labour do ?
1. Stop the cuts.
By using the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to set an income tax rate just one penny higher than that set by the UK Government, we would stop the cuts to the local services providing holiday childcare that so many working families rely on.
2. Working families need childcare all year round, not just in term time. We have a plan to work towards the flexible, all-age, year-round, wrap-around affordable childcare that Scottish families need.
As part of our proposals we will fund a breakfast club in every primary school in Scotland and use the proceeds from the “sugar tax” to support investment in after-school sport.
3. Under the Childcare Act 2006 all local authorities in England and Wales have a legal obligation to make sure there is sufficient childcare for working parents and those undertaking training.
In Scotland there is no statutory duty to provide sufficient childcare to meet parental demand.
Under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act local authorities are required to take account of flexibility and choice in delivery of 600 hours ; they must also consult parents about their power to provide out of school care and holiday care.
Labour would change this by creating a statutory duty in Scotland similar to that in England and Wales.
Scottish Labour has been arguing for years that childcare policy in Scotland needs to fit around the lives of working parents.
Experts, providers, academics and, above all, parents agree that childcare has to be about affordability and flexibility as well as free nursery hours.
Given the choice between hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts and using the powers of the Scottish Parliament, Labour would use the powers to stop the cuts and grow our economy.