VIDEO: Scottish Parliament

Finance Secretary John Swinney announced £3.5m of additional support to equip the childcare workforce to grow by around 2,000 jobs during the debate on Scotland’s economy on 8 January 2014.

The money will be provided in 2014-15 to meet the extra demand for childcare places following the government’s decision to spend £59 million to extend childcare provision.

The extra funding will be invested in skills development and training places to support the high industry standards as well as boost the childcare workforce by creating new jobs in the sector.

The cabinet secretary said the funding was part of the government’s commitment to grow the economy and will help more women back into work.

Mr Swinney also set out in the debate why he believed independence was essential to deliver the transformational childcare proposed in Scotland’s Future.

He told MSPs: “The current recovery in Scotland is taking place despite the policies of the UK government not because of them.”

Scottish Labour finance spokesperson Iain Gray said the SNP’s “big strategic economic decision” would be to “present big business with a corporation tax cut and leave the people of Scotland to find £400m a year in cuts or increased taxes”.

This, he said, was “as an argument for economic growth this is absurd, as an argument for fairness it is utterly ridiculous and as a reason for failure to take the actions we need right now on a living wage, on skills, on job creation, on child care and on procurement it is only an excuse and a poor one at that”.

Gavin Brown, speaking for the Conservatives said the recovery in Scotland was due to the macroeconomic policy of the UK government, a point which the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie echoed.

Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone said independence would provide an opportunity to imagine a different vision which could “tackle the huge inequalities” in Scotland.

The second part of the debate can be viewed below:

Scotland’s economy debate 2

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VIDEO: Scottish Parliament
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