COMMENT – August 8th
From Hamish Alldridge – Chairman
That is a subject dear to the hearts of us all. It is one especially dear to the heart, and the mind, of the Scottish Government.
A flagship policy, launched earlier this year, in March, claimed that after independence the Scottish government would guarantee up to 30 hours per week free childcare for the under 5’s in Scotland.
Marvellous. 30 hours per week, when you can be guaranteed that your under 5 will be safely in childcare. Caring policy.
The policy of course was directed at key elements of the Scottish Government’s economic programme. Jobs. Employment. Economic wealth.
So, getting the under 5s off your hands, will mean you can go off to work and supplement the family income, which of course is vital because the government can grab more tax to shore up the crumbling economic edifice built on the promise of black gold surging out of the north sea, to keep Scotland in the forefront of prosperity for years to come.
Things, however, always seem so much more attractive and workable, when set out on paper ; whether a paper napkin, a bookie’s slip or a white one…now it seems there are concerns.
The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), has made it quite clear that the system cannot deliver the places, never mind sustain the cost, of such a scheme. In Glasgow, 1805 children are entitled to day care, but only 1222 places exist. The response from the provider, Glasgow Council, claims that there are places available, you just have to look for them.
So that’s fine. You live in A, you work in B, your nearest available Child Care place is in C.
So then we return to the funding issue. The central point of the scheme was to get Mothers back to work, so that more tax would be raised….to pay for the Nursery places. That does not seem to be a sound economic policy, as for one thing, there is no convenient link between job availability and day care availability that accompanies such a scheme.
No, this another piece of flummery, a three card trick with two cards, that is designed to look good in the window, but has all the appeal of day old scones with no butter or jam.