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Labour has promised to extend its free childcare provision if it manages to keep control of Glasgow City Council in the local elections.
Children in Scotland currently receive 15 hours of funded childcare a week at the beginning of the term, after their third birthday. If they are re-elected, Labour wants to extend to the start of the term in which they turn three.
It is estimated this will help 7,000 children a year.
Glasgow was the first council in Scotland to provide childcare for three-year olds.
Labour leader of Glasgow City Council, Gordon Matheson announced the pledge on a visit to the Dove Street Nursery in Nitshill with Johann Lamont and Harriet Harman.
Mr Matheson said: ‘Glasgow was the first council in Scotland to offer 15 hours of free childcare to three year olds, but I want our city to stay ahead of the game. Childcare is vital in helping parents, especially women, get back into the job market.’
‘I am delighted to unveil this pledge, and it will see almost every child born in Glasgow start their free childcare early. This is a massive boost for them, for their parents and for our city. Childcare is an issue of social justice for families and is at the heart of Labour’s plans.’
Scottish Labour Leader, Johann Lamont, welcomed the pledge and said: ‘Too often there is a gap between the rhetoric of what politicians say and the reality facing families. By contrast this is a real, concrete scheme that will support thousands of children in Glasgow, and their families. Even in good economic times, access to childcare is one of the biggest barriers stopping women coming back to the workplace. When times are tough, childcare is even more important.’
MP Harriet Harman added her support for the scheme. ‘For decades, Glasgow has led the way on how the council provides childcare and helps, and this development will be a real help to many families in the city. Gordon Matheson is to be congratulated on setting out a vision for childcare in Glasgow and the steps needed to make it a reality,’ she said.
Labour looks set to face a strong challenge from the SNP for control of the city council at the election in May.
Gordon Matheson is pictured above