Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th March 2018.

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Photo of Kezia Dugdale Kezia Dugdale Labour

The Parliament is alive to its responsibilities to be a decent employer operating a flexible working environment, particularly around the issues of gender equality that are so much in our minds today. The issue has been looked at on a number of occasions by previous corporate body memberships, who have always agreed that the crèche is primarily a facility for visitors to the Parliament. That said, the crèche is managed in such a way that it can be used by members and their staff on an ad hoc basis, in an appropriate manner; they pay, of course, while visitors to the Parliament do not.

We have looked in the past at what it would take to have a nursery facility on the site and I am sure that Mary Fee is more than well aware that that would require different ratios of staff to children and some physical changes to the building, because of the requirements to have outdoor space for the running of a nursery. There would also have to be an increased level of structured learning and development. That is the main difference between nursery provision and a crèche, which is primarily a childcare facility. We are constantly looking at those issues.

I will end by saying that the majority of the people who use the crèche are visitors—they are about 85 per cent of the users, while 15 per cent of the people currently accessing the crèche are members and their staff. We are alive to the issues and we will continue to monitor the use of the crèche closely.