Early Years Strategy

– in the Scottish Parliament on 16th May 2013.

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Photo of James Dornan James Dornan Scottish National Party

10. To ask the Scottish Government what impact the Save the Children report, “State of the World’s Mothers 2013”, will have on its early years strategy. (S4O-02134)

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government welcomes the report from Save the Children and the focus that it brings to the importance of high-quality support for women and their children. Our early years framework clearly sets out the steps that we need to take to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up. Our multi-agency early years collaborative, which brings together partners from across civic Scotland to deliver with and for our children and families, is part of that activity. Indeed, one of the collaborative’s three stretch aims is to reduce stillbirth and infant mortality in Scotland.

Photo of James Dornan James Dornan Scottish National Party

Will the minister join me in congratulating Finland on being named the best country in the world in which to become a mother? Does she share my disappointment that the United Kingdom has fallen from joint 10th to 24th? Will she outline what steps the Scottish Government can take with the powers that it has to emulate the work that is being done in Finland and other small, independent countries, so that we make Scotland the best country in the world in which to become a mother?

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

Yes, I will join the member in congratulating Finland on being named the best country in the world in which to become a mother. I note with interest the progress that has been made by Finland, which is a small, independent country in northern Europe that is in full control of its destiny and is an example for us all.

The report raises many issues that relate to inequality, particularly social, economic and health inequalities. We can do what we can to tackle persistent inequality effectively in Scotland, but we do so with one hand tied behind our back. An opportunity to create a fairer country presents itself next year—yes to emulating Finland, yes to a fairer society and yes to being in charge of our own affairs through independence.