FMQs: First Minister Hammered Over Rising Childcare Costs
Nicola Sturgeon came under fire at today’s FMQs for the SNP Council in Glasgow’s decision to raise the cost of childcare by 57 per cent.
Richard Leonard urged the First Minister to take a stand against the raise, which according to a Freedom of Information request will impact on over 5,000 families across Glasgow, something Labour has said will lead to huge increases for working class families in the city.
The Scottish Labour leader raised the case of the Spence family, who will see their charges increase by £220 per month in August unless the plans are dropped.
The First Minister attempted to defend the policy, arguing that the SNP has sought to double the amount of free childcare provided by local councils.
This year the Scottish Government reached an agreement with local authorities, and promised to provide 1140 hours of free childcare for three-and-four-year-olds, but critics are worried that those who would still pay for childcare will face unfair hikes.
The plans have also raised concerns that there are insufficient numbers of trained professionals to provide the services, with experts warning it will take until 2024 for staffing levels to reach the required amount.
Richard Leonard raised the case of Sarah Spence, an Assistant Practice Manager in the city, who told Labour the charges could force her to give up work.
Attacking the planned raise, the Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard commented; “5,000 families in Glasgow will be hit by the SNP decision to hike up childcare charges in the city.
“That's 5,000 families already struggling with the cost of living.
“These charges won’t open the door for working families – they will slam the door shut.
“Nicola Sturgeon should listen to what 5,000 families across the city of Glasgow are telling her, stand up for these families and stand against these increases.”