Labour have faced questions about their childcare proposals today – after the Scottish Parliament’s information centre made clear that the party had failed to provide even basic details of how the policy is to be funded and what its economic impact would be.
While Labour has failed to provide a costing for their proposals – SPICe figures show that the cost would be around £750m. However, SPICe has also confirmed that Labour’s plans would have additional costs but that “there is insufficient detail in the [Together We Can] document to enable these proposals to be costed.”
SPICe has also stated that Labour are unable to provide details of how the policy would be funded – stating that “Labour party researchers have indicated that they are still in the process of deciding the policy details and funding”.
Any positive economic impact Labour’s plans would make is also unclear – with SPICe confirming that Labour’s plans “don’t outline the anticipated impact on female participation in the work force and the supporting background information also does not show the likely scale of impact on female participation.”
In contrast, Scotland’s Future sets out clear plans for a transformational childcare policy in an independent Scotland – which would see children from age one to five entitled to 1,140 hours of early learning and childcare.
Commenting, SNP MSP George Adam said:
“These SPICe findings are a real blow to Labour and their uncosted, undetailed plans which give every indication of having been worked out on the back of a fag packet.
“The lack of even basic detail in their plans shows that Labour just isn’t serious about childcare – and their proposals were nothing more than a desperate response to the transformational childcare plans set out in Scotland’s Future.
“Labour don’t even know how much their own proposals would cost – they need to go back to the drawing board and work out the basics before anyone can take them seriously.
“With SPICe telling us Labour’s plans will cost £750m – Johann Lamont needs to tell us how she intends to pay for this policy. With the limited powers of devolution Scotland’s budget is fixed – what existing services would she cut to pay for these plans?
“Labour’s uncosted plans stand in stark contrast to the SNP’s transformational childcare plans after a Yes vote – which will benefit around 240,000 children in their early years, help get more parents back into work and make sure that the tax revenue from increased economic activity is reinvested in Scotland’s future rather than flowing to the Treasury in London.”