In Edinburgh Central the SNP Lib Dem Council have just shut two of our most popular nurseries, the High School Yards Nursery School in the Southside and the Westfield Court Nursery in Gorgie.
First thing yesterday I had coffee with Labour Leader Iain Gray and young mums who are worried about the lack of provision of childcare.
After the 2007 elections the SNP/Lib Dem Council tried to shut a raft of nursery and primary schools but were met with a wall of opposition from parents. The plans fell apart when challenged.
However that hasn’t stopped the council from moving to shut successful nursery schools. Two years ago the council removed control of entry to nurseries from head teachers and prevented them from meeting demand by removing nursery staff. Behind the closures lies the reality that free full time places have been lost for low income families, and working families will now struggle with the high costs of childcare.
So yesterday we were highlighting the fact that child poverty has risen sharply under the SNP.
Our manifesto includes a commitment to a common package of support measures, prior to birth and until the age of three, including provision for expectant parents during pregnancy and additional support for young mothers.
We’ve also pledged to expand the existing network of family centres, starting with those communities with the highest levels of deprivation. We’ll also mprove the flexibility and number of hours of supported early education and care places that parents are offered and increasing the number of free early learning places for vulnerable two year olds.