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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-12641: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 10 November 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to ensure that all local authorities are able to (a) deliver and (b) sustain the 30-hour early years provision, and whether the additional funding it is providing towards this is ring-fenced.

Answered by: Maree Todd 23 November 2017

The Scottish Government is committed to meeting the costs of delivering the expansion in funded early learning and childcare (ELC) entitlement to 1140 hours by 2020. The expansion must be delivered efficiently whilst ensuring that the outcomes of the expansion are met, particularly that children and their families benefit from a high quality service.

We are in discussions with COSLA with a view to agreeing a multi-year revenue and capital funding package to deliver the expansion.

Our Blueprint Action Plan for 2017-18 sets out the steps we are taking this year to progress the expansion, working in partnership with local authorities and other stakeholders. We have established a multi-disciplinary team to provide delivery support and additional capacity to local authorities in planning for and implementing the expansion.

We asked local authorities to submit ELC expansion plans, which include financial estimates, by 29 September 2017. These expansion plans set out how authorities intend to deliver the expanded entitlement. We are currently reviewing these plans ahead of providing feedback to local authorities by the end of November.

Over the longer-term our new Funding Follows the Child approach, which will be introduced from 2020, will ensure that funding provided for early learning and childcare reaches frontline delivery, directly supporting our young children and their families, as well as enabling financially sustainable provision across all sectors providing the funded entitlement.