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Child care and the Scottish referendum

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Publication Date: 
17 Sep 2014


Child care has become a major issue in the run-up to Scotland's referendum on independence set for 18 September 2014. The Scottish government, led by the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), has made child care a main plank in its campaign for an independent Scotland. They have featured child care strongly in their White Paper on an independent Scotland, and are promising a "transformational extension of child care" following a Yes vote (for independence) in the referendum. One result of this thus far has been a public and in-depth discussion about child care policy.

CRRU has collected reports, commentary and news media about this development. We will continue to watch how this issue develops post-referendum, and will update this page as new information becomes available.

Most recent news and commentary

How does childcare fit into the referendum debate?

Lucy Adams, BBC News, 26 Aug 14

What future for childcare beyond the referendum?

Bronwen Cohen, The Future of the UK and Scotland blog, 16 Aug 14

Salmond sets out post-independence childcare plans

Public Finance, 13 Aug 14

Scottish government materials

Scotland's future: Your guide to an independent Scotland

Scottish Government, 26 Nov 13

See pg. 192 for the Early Learning and Childcare section:

In an independent Scotland, this Government would develop a universal system of high quality early learning and childcare for children from the age of one to when they enter school. We will:

• In our first budget: provide 600 hours of childcare to around half of Scotland's two year olds. Those whose parents receive working tax credit or child tax credit will benefit

• By the end of the first Parliament: ensure that all three and four year olds and vulnerable two year olds will be entitled to 1,140 hours of childcare a year (the same amount of time as children spend in primary school)

• By the end of the second Parliament: ensure that all children from one to school age will be entitled to 1,140 hours of childcare per year

Handout: Childcare and female labour market participation

Scottish Government, 26 Nov 13

Independence delivers the tax revenues that help fund expanded childcare

• Improved access to free childcare is of benefit to children, but also to the economy as it increases the number of women able to work.

• Under devolution the revenues from the tax women returning to work pay - as well as the reduced level of welfare payments they might currently receive - go to Westminster.

• Under Independence, that money stays in Scotland and can be used to help pay for the phased expansion of childcare

Commentary and news media, Nov 2013 - Apr 2014

Scottish independence: Scottish government childcare plan questioned

BBC News, 3 Apr 14

Scottish Labour has accused the Scottish government of misleading parents over its plans to expand childcare in the event of independence. Ministers say providing more free places can help Scotland achieve the same level of women in work as Sweden. But Labour highlighted independent analysis which said there was "no evidence" to back this up.

SPICe briefing: Early learning and childcare

Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), 2 Apr 14

This briefing gives the legislative and policy context for the provision of childcare and pre-school education and considers the expansion of early learning and childcare as set out in the Scottish Government‟s White Paper "Scotland‟s Future".

Children in Scotland launches Childcare Alliance and Partnership Commission on Childcare Reform 

Children in Scotland, 26 Mar 14

The Alliance brings together employers, families, communities and childcare providers and is being spearheaded by the charity Children in Scotland. CIS chief executive Jackie Brock said "significant change" was needed in childcare. "It is welcome that the issue has come to the forefront of political debate, but most of the discussion has centred around plans to extend subsidised childcare. It needs to go deeper than this."

Scottish independence: What do experts think of post-Yes childcare plans?

BBC News, 25 Mar 14

Comments from: Children in Scotland, National Day Nurseries Association, Scottish Out-of-School Care Network, and a research fellow at the Institute for Social Justice Research.

Scottish independence: Parent views on post-Yes childcare plan

BBC News, 25 Mar 14

Newsnight Scotland: Segment discussing Scotland's childcare plan (video, 15:00)

BBC News, 25 Mar 14

Discussion featuring: Dr Ingela Naumann, from Edinburgh University; Ross Martin, from the Scottish Council for Development and Industry; Dr Samantha Callan, from the Centre for Social Justice and Prof Susan Deacon, an early years advocate

Can we not act on improving childcare now?

Bronwen Cohen, The Scotsman, 11 Dec 2013

So could more be done now? And if Scotland's votes No next year could it happen? My examination this year of Scotland's post-devolution experience in ECEC suggests it would be hard. Problems arise from split responsibilities and policies. So it is pertinent to ask Better Together how these issues might be overcome, short of independence?

Voters to SNP: Give us extra childcare now

Scott Macnab, The Scotsman, 5 Jan 14

A poll finds that two-thirds of voters believe [the Scottish Government] should act now to extend free childcare provision rather than wait until after independence.

Children in Scotland comment on childcare proposals in independence whitepaper

Children in Scotland, 27 Nov 13

Following the launch of the Scottish Government's white paper on independence, national charity Children in Scotland has spoken out about the need for clarity on the promises about childcare.

United for universal childcare

Nick Pearce, Nick's Blog, Institute for Public Policy Research, 26 Nov 13

If the Scottish people vote to stay in the union, let them have full powers over childcare policy and let universal childcare become the settled consensus of the Scottish people. Many of us in the rest of the UK would happily follow suit. Then we could be united by universal childcare.