Ministers need to answer basic questions on childcare as parents plan for return to work
Back to school – childcare costs are big problem for parents.
By Bill Heaney
As workplaces and schools plan for their phased re-opening, Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has asked the Scottish Government to be “clear and open” about how work life and childcare will be balanced.
During the Scottish Parliament’s remote portfolio questions, Ms Wishart pointed out that part-time schooling will create difficulties for parents who are being asked to return to work full time.
Education Secretary John Swinney failed to set out what further provisions would be made available and confirm whether the government would cover the additional costs. He said that there would need to be “adaptation” to the new circumstances.
Ms Wishart said: “There are whole sectors of the economy – retail, construction and more – where working from home is impossible. When the time is right sole traders and shop owners will need to resume work to earn a living, but what will they do without childcare?
“Many grandparents are shielding, and capacity in other childcare centres may be reduced.
“The Scottish Government needs to plan for the myriad of problems that parents in these jobs are set to encounter during the new model of blended schooling.
“Ministers must be clear and open about what these parents are expected to do and how they are going to help them. Will further childcare be provided? And if so, who will pick up the cost?
“Parents who are balancing childcare and working face enough uncertainty and disruption already. These are important points that cannot be ignored.”