A mum has welcomed funded childcare and said it will make things “a hell of a lot easier” for parents during the cost of living crisis.
Ministers have pledged £1m to expand a scheme that provides funded childcare for primary age children.
Low-income families in four target areas – Dundee, Glasgow, Clackmannanshire and Inverclyde – will receive help with the cost of care outside school hours, with some families having to pay nothing at all as a result of the initiative.
Mum-of-two Nicole Reid, from Dundee, said she was struggling to pay her bills due to working part-time and was unable to afford childcare herself.
She told STV News: “I work a part-time job not using my qualification, but it suits the kids for being at school just now.
“Childcare costs more money and you’re left with not much at the end the month.
“Your shopping bill at the end of the week is £40, £50 more now. Electricity, gas, petrol, kids clothes – everything is going up.
“You don’t have enough money to live generally, never mind childcare on top of it.”
She added: “There’s a huge poverty issue in this area. People find it hard to keep a job and keep everything going. If you’ve got someone looking after kids within the school it’s a hell of a lot easier.”
Children’s minister Clare Haughey said pilots in the four areas would help the Scottish Government “understand what is needed to support families in different communities”.
She was speaking after meeting families in the Linlathen area of Dundee who are already benefiting from the project.
The Scottish Government also confirmed it is to continue the Nursery Rates Relief Scheme, providing 100% relief on non-domestic rates to eligible day nurseries beyond the current end date of June 30, 2023.
Haughey said: “Delivering our vision of a high-quality, affordable and accessible system of childcare is crucial to our national mission to tackle child poverty.
“It can help parents and carers to access work, training or study, while children benefit from additional opportunities to socialise and take part in a range of activities.
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to delivering school age childcare. What we learn from the four areas that will see services expanded will help us understand what is needed to support families in different communities.”
Dundee City Council family support worker Doug Millar said the project Haughey visited would “go a long way to help remove barriers to childcare for people in this area”.
He added: “Parents will be able to access employment opportunities while their children are enjoying activities delivered in a safe and nurturing environment.”