Nicola Sturgeon set to unveil plans to double spending on childcare
Nicola Sturgeon: Picture credit - David Anderson
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to unveil plans to double spending on childcare to £840m a year by 2020.
In her speech to the SNP conference this afternoon, Sturgeon will explain the SNP’s intentions for early years education and childcare.
Under the new plan, parents will be entitled to 1,140 hours a year, about 30 hours a week. All three- and four-year-olds and vulnerable two-year-olds will be eligible by 2020.
She is expected to say: “Often when I have talked about this policy, I've been asked - sometimes sceptically - if we will really be able to fund it properly.
"Well, today, we put our money where our mouth is. Over the past few months, we have undertaken detailed work to assess the investment needed.
"Right now, we invest around £420m a year in early years education and childcare. I can announce today that by the end of this parliament, that will rise to £840m a year.
"This is a commitment unmatched anywhere else in the UK. And it's the best investment we can make in Scotland's future."
She will also explain how her government has “led the way” during its time in power and how her focus is now on the next 10 years “and beyond”.
According to the first minister, transformational policies are needed to equip Scotland for the future in a rapidly changing world.
Sturgeon is expected to say: "That world around us is being shaped by events that no country on its own can hope to completely control.
"But we face the added uncertainty of a UK now being driven down the most uncertain path in modern times.
"We know that Scotland does better when decisions are taken here in Scotland.
"So as we look ahead we face a choice: We can trail in the wake of the change that is coming - or we can choose to shape our own future.
"Let's resolve this today: Let's not wait for others to decide for us. Let's put Scotland in the driving seat."