Economic expert gives backing to SNP childcare plan

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For immediate release: Monday March 3

The SNP has welcomed supportive comments from Professor Donald MacKay who backs plans for transformational childcare outlined in Scotland’s Future – the Scottish Government’s blueprint on independence.

In written evidence published by the Economy, Energy and Tourism (EET) Committee Professor MacKay points out that Scotland needs independence to enable transformational childcare, contrary to the calls from opposition politicians.

Professor MacKay, an economic expert and former Chairman of Scottish Enterprise, describes increasing female employment as ‘part of the Zeitgeist of our time’. And explains ‘female employment rates would rise with more women staying longer in the labour market, and income differentials between men and women would narrow’.

He continued:

“No financially responsible Scottish Government would dare to implement the childcare proposals under the fixed block grant funding of devolution, unless they were prepared to take an axe to existing programmes when there was already strong downward pressure on the real value of the existing block grant.”

This evidence has been welcomed by SNP MSP Dennis Robertson, who sits on the EET Committee.

He said:

“This is a highly significant contribution from Professor Donald MacKay and one which not only supports the Scottish Government’s proposals but demonstrates why the full powers of independence are needed to deliver the childcare policy and to sustain it for the long term.

“The anti-independence parties’ half-baked plans for limited fiscal devolution come without guarantee, and at best, would mean that responsibility for the vast majority of Scottish taxes remains with Westminster and that the vast majority of Scotland’s budget is still determined by Westminster. That limitation will prevent Scotland retaining and reinvesting the benefits of our investment in childcare in order to expand the programme further.

“Only a Yes vote and independence will give the Scottish Parliament the powers needed to transform childcare. An SNP Government in an independent Scotland will introduce a universal system of high quality learning and childcare from the age of 1. To suggest this is possible at the moment is just desperate.”