Salmond pledges to transform childcare

First Minister Alex Salmond visits Time Twisters Indoor Activity Park
First Minister Alex Salmond visits Time Twisters Indoor Activity Park
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Childcare would be “transformed” in an independent Scotland, with families saving almost £5,000, according to Alex Salmond.

The First Minister yesterday visited a soft-play centre in Edinburgh, where he said a Yes vote will help parents with childcare costs.

The Scottish Government has committed to giving all three and four-year-olds, and vulnerable two-year-olds, 1,140 hours of childcare a year by the end of the first Parliament under independence.

That would be extended to all children from the age of one to school age by the end of the second Parliament, according to the white paper on independence.

The SNP says the plans would benefit around 240,000 children, in contrast to the 100,000 it says will be “pushed into poverty” by Westminster welfare reforms by 2020.

Mr Salmond said: “Independence gives Scotland the opportunity to transform childcare.

“We have already made progress, but we need to go much further if we are to transform the lives of children and help tens of thousands of women back into work.

“Our independence childcare plan delivers the same number of hours free, high quality nursery childcare as children spend in primary school. That’s 30 hours a week for the school term.

Meanwhile Labour MP Jim Murphy has suspended his referendum tour, claiming that Yes Scotland is employing intimidation tactics by co-ordinating mobs of protesters to disrupt the meetings.

The suspension comes after Mr Murphy was heckled by Yes supporters and hit by an egg in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on Thursday during his 100 Towns in 100 Days tour for Better Together.

The MP has been making his case for the union by getting on his soapbox – two Irn-Bru crates – in towns across Scotland since June, but he said the past fortnight had seen events take a “sinister turn for the worse”.