£1m childminder support fund announced
The Scottish Government has established a £1m fund to support childminders.
It follows extra funding being announced for day care providers last week.
Childminders will be able to apply for grants of up to £1,000 each when the scheme is opened.
Announcing the fund at the daily COVID briefing, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Childminders play a hugely important role and the work they do is, I know, valued and appreciated by families across the country.
“This new fund will provide them with some of the support they need in order to continue to carry out that role. That's something that will be increasingly important as we emerge from lockdown, and as more parents return to work.”
The government is working with the Scottish Childminding Association to finalise the details of the financial support.
In addition, the government has published an action plan on support for the sector going forward.
Regarding schools, Swinney said the government was considering a phased reopening, including allowing nursery and P1-3 pupils to return first.
He said the government would aim to give all those involved two weeks’ notice before a return to face-to-face learning.
But he reiterated this decision will depend on both the general level of coronavirus across Scotland as well as new data on how new strains are affecting different age cohorts.
Swinney also said an estimate of the R-number would be published later today, indicating it is around one.
He confirmed 334,871 people had now received the first dose of the vaccine and he was “very confident” about meeting the target of vaccinating all over 80s by the first week of February.
Asked about GP access to vaccine supplies following concerns, the deputy first minister said: “We continue to talk to GPs about those routes.
“We’re confident in the existing arrangements we have in place, but we are of course very happy to engage in further discussion to advance any of these questions to make sure that the supply of vaccine is as smooth and effective as it possibly can be.”
A new campaign has also been launched today to encourage uptake of the vaccine.