Families ‘failed’ as childminder numbers fall by half in decade, says Labour

Between 2012 and 2023, operating childminders dropped from 6,274 to 3,225.

Families ‘failed’ as childminder numbers fall by half in decade, says Labour PA Media

Scottish Labour has said families are “being failed” as the number of childminders has almost halved in just over a decade.

Figures released to the party in response to a written question at Holyrood show the number of childminders dropped from 6,274 in December 2012 to 3,530 in December 2022.

The latest data shows the figure has dropped further, with 3,225 people working in the profession in December of last year.

Scottish Labour children’s spokesman Martin Whitfield said: “The consistent decline in the number of childminders operating in Scotland over the past decade is proof positive that the SNP has failed families in Scotland.

“These figures paint a worrying picture of the erosion of vital childcare services in our communities.

“Childminders play a crucial role in supporting families and providing flexible, high-quality care for young children.

“Dwindling numbers of childminders will have serious implications for parents seeking childcare options and for the early years development of our children.

“It’s time to draw a line under a decade of failure and act to support families.”

Over the past decade, the Scottish Government’s promise to provide 1,140 hours of free childcare has been rolled out.

Appearing before a Holyrood committee last year, Scottish Childminding Association chief executive Graeme McAllister said local councils had been slow to integrate childminders into the 1,140 hours policy, warning there needed to be “urgent action” to stem the tide of closures in the sector.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government values the important work that childminders provide in communities and is committed to supporting and growing the sector.

“We want to attract 1,000 new childminders to the workforce and are working with the Scottish Childminding Association on a programme of recruitment and retention work, to ensure that more families have access to the unique and flexible experience of childcare that childminders can offer. We expect this programme to launch in spring.

“Through this programme, we also want to help ensure childminders are better supported with their workloads and to safeguard the long term future of childminding in Scotland.”

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