Jackie Baillie and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar – promises on childcare.
By Bill Heaney
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has today (Thursday) launched Scottish Labour’s manifesto for the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections.
Jackie Baillie, candidate for Dumbarton constituency, said that voting Scottish Labour will deliver a parliament focused on ‘solutions, not divisions’, and revealed that the party will commit to dramatically increasing affordable childcare.
In addition to the planned expansion to 1,140 hours this year, Scottish Labour will seek to deliver a year-on-year increase, with the eventual ambition of offering 50 hours a week for every child.
To deliver this radical increase in support for children and families, Scottish Labour will invest in childcare as a key growth sector, along with social care, recognising both as a vital infrastructure and key component of Scotland’s economic recovery.
Scottish Labour has already promised the biggest job recovery scheme in the history of devolution. Today’s childcare pledges will not only tackle the ‘national scandal’ of child poverty but also fuel our economic recovery from Covid, said Jackie Baillie.
Extended eligibility will begin by rolling out additional hours by age group, year by year, and focusing on early years settings in the first five years.
The Party has pledged to focus on the most vulnerable one and two-year-olds, building capacity in the sector for wider expansion. Investing in care produces higher economic return, at the same time as stimulating employment and reducing the gender employment gap.
Research by the Women’s Budget Group found investment of 1% of GDP in the care sector would produce 2.7 times as many jobs in the economy overall as an equivalent investment in construction. Investment in care is also greener than other industries, with care jobs three times less polluting than construction.
Jackie Baillie said: “As we emerge from the collective trauma of Covid, we can’t afford to go back to the old arguments while our NHS loses funding, our children miss out on world-class education, businesses close and jobs go overseas.
“Child poverty is a national scandal, yet the SNP and the Tories are more interested in constitutional rows than delivering for the next generation. Our community has some of the poorest families in Scotland who desperately need support after 14 years of being let down by this SNP government.
“At this election, you can choose something different. Voting for me in the constituency, and Scottish Labour with your regional list vote, will deliver a parliament focused on solutions, not divisions.
“Our plans to expand childcare would lift families out of poverty, redress gender inequalities and fuel our economic recovery from Covid.
“Scotland deserves a better government, and it deserves a better opposition, and we can vote for it on 6 May.”
Busy lady – Labour candidate Jackie Baillie taking up issues around the Dumbarton constituency.