Sturgeon to include free wraparound childcare in Programme for Government

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Nicola Sturgeon will include plans for free wraparound childcare for the lowest income families as she seeks to build a “brighter and fairer” Scotland in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Following the “dark and difficult months” of the pandemic the Scottish First Minister will set out her government’s plans for the coming year.

The Programme for Government announcement comes after a power-sharing deal was agreed with the Scottish Greens, giving that party two junior ministers in the government.

And as Scotland seeks to rebuild from coronavirus Ms Sturgeon said that ministers would “work to secure an economic recovery which is green and fair, and which delivers our ambition to become a net-zero nation”.

A “new vision” for health and social care will also be included in the programme, with the Scottish Government already consulting on plans to establish a new National Care Service.

To help families with the lowest incomes, children will receive free childcare before and after school and over the holidays, making it easier for their parents to work, take part in training or study.

Speaking at a visit to the Indigo out of school care centre in Castlemilk in Glasgow, the First Minister said: “Over the last 18 months, the world, and our own individual places within it, have changed immeasurably.

“While the pandemic may have defined our lives for those dark and difficult months, our Programme for Government looks to secure a brighter and fairer future for Scotland.

“That means prioritising the recovery of our precious health and social care services – rebuilding capacity, and establishing a new form of care which people can access in a way, place and time which works for them.”

Free wraparound childcare for the lowest income families will help parents return to work, training or studies, Nicola Sturgeon said (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Free wraparound childcare for the lowest income families will help parents return to work, training or studies, Nicola Sturgeon said (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ms Sturgeon, who will announce her plans in detail in a statement to Holyrood on Tuesday afternoon, continued: “We know that children and young people have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and we are more determined than ever to help them flourish and reach their full potential.

“Our new system of wraparound childcare – providing children with access to a wide range of activities while enabling parents to have secure and stable employment – is just one example of how we’re making this happen.”

She vowed the Scottish Government would “redouble efforts to tackle the inequalities that continue to blight our society – eradicating poverty and discrimination, and ensuring opportunity is never limited by economic or social circumstance”.

The First Minister added that her government would “work to secure an economic recovery which is green and fair, and which delivers our ambition to become a net-zero nation”.

She stated: “As we rebuild our society, we will ensure the sacrifices we have all made will find purpose in the fairer, more just, prosperous, and equal Scotland that we create in response.”

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