Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘Another desperate attack’: Nicola Sturgeon’s claim Aberdeenshire Council is not meeting childcare target provokes angry response

Alexander Burnett took exception to Nicola Sturgeon's remarks.
Alexander Burnett took exception to Nicola Sturgeon's remarks.

A row has erupted after Nicola Sturgeon said Aberdeenshire Council was failing to meet the SNP’s flagship pledge to deliver 1,140 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds.

The first minister was accused of making “another desperate attack on the north-east” after she made her comments at First Minister’s Questions.

Ms Sturgeon was asked how many of Scotland’s 32 councils were achieving the policy goal by Alastair Allan, SNP MSP for the Western Isles.

Mr Allan asked his question after it was suggested by the SNP’s opponents this week that the keynote policy was not being delivered.

Ms Sturgeon said 11 local authorities were delivering 1,140 hours in full. They were: Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, the Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire and Stirling.

The three councils not delivering any right now are Labour- led North Lanarkshire, Labour-led West Lothian and Tory-led Aberdeenshire. And I hope to see progress in these three councils as we deliver this flagship commitment in full.”

Nicola Sturgeon

A further 18 councils were meeting the target in “some or most” nurseries. She gave the examples of Perth and Kinross, where 84% of nurseries are delivering the 1,140 hours in full, Renfrewshire, where the figure was 80%, and Edinburgh (85%).

She added: “Right now there are only three councils in the whole country who are not delivering any 1,140 hours’ provision, although, to be fair to them, they all have plans to progress it. But the three councils not delivering any right now are Labour- led North Lanarkshire, Labour-led West Lothian and Tory-led Aberdeenshire. And I hope to see progress in these three councils as we deliver this flagship commitment in full.”

Aberdeenshire Council said eligible children were able to access 900 hours of fully-funded Early Learning and Childcare in private, voluntary and independent providers, providing childcare on behalf of the council. And it was hoped that all Early Learning and Childcare Settings will be delivering 1,140 hours by July 2021.

The council added that local authority providers were offering the statutory 600 hours of funded childcare, which would increase to 900 hours “as soon as possible”.

The council’s preparations for 1,140 are exactly where they should be. This is another desperate attack on the north-east by Nicola Sturgeon.”

Alexander Burnett

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett pointed out that the original August 2020 target date had been delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Burnett said: “The SNP told councils to spend this ring-fenced cash on their Covid response at the start of the outbreak.

“Despite the hardship they face, Aberdeenshire are managing to offer 900 hours, well in excess of the statutory 600.

“The council’s preparations for 1,140 are exactly where they should be. This is another desperate attack on the north-east by Nicola Sturgeon.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]