Lamont unveils childcare proposals

Labour leader Johann Lamont has proposed major changes to childcare which she says can be delivered using Holyrood’s existing powers.

Ms Lamont wants to phase in a cap on childcare costs to make it more affordable and introduce a free childcare place “for every mum who wants to go to college and gain the skills needed to get a job”.

She said the free places – which the party estimates would cost up to £35 million – would be “an important first step in achieving this parliament’s mission to transform childcare in this country, supporting families, allowing women to access the skills to get a good job and giving children the best start in life”.

The Labour leader revealed the plans in a keynote speech in Edinburgh during which she also called on Holyrood’s parties to support a major expert review of the health service.

Ms Lamont’s childcare plans come after the Scottish Government made a pre-referendum pledge to launch a programme of transformational change using the powers of independence.

The Government planned to vastly increase the number of free hours of childcare using money from the tax receipts of new working mothers to help pay for the policy.

Ms Lamont said: “We cannot make all childcare free. But we can make it affordable.

“Earlier this year my education spokesperson Kezia Dugdale visited Finland, where the total costs any family spends on childcare is no more than 10% of the median income of the people in the country.

“She saw first-hand the opportunities it gave to their children.

“I want the same for families in Scotland. So, let us set the goal of capping childcare costs at no more than 10% of the median income of Scotland.

“I want to help those families struggling with the costs of childcare and the mothers at home because childcare prices them out of the market.”

She added: “If we are to enable women to access the job market, then we must give them the skills needed to make the most of their potential.

“So, today I propose that we work together to provide a childcare place for every mum who wants to go to college and gain the skills needed to get a job.”

Source Article from http://uk.news.yahoo.com/lamont-unveils-childcare-proposals-121233953.html
Lamont unveils childcare proposals
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