Covid-19 (Next Steps)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th July 2020.

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Photo of Jackson Carlaw Jackson Carlaw Conservative

I thank the First Minister for early sight of her statement. As we exit lockdown, I reiterate her call for all of us to follow the rules, which, so far, the vast majority of people across Scotland have done commendably. In particular, I welcome the fact that places of worship will soon be reopened, which is a sign that our communities are coming back to life.

Today’s statement confirms that businesses and employees across many sectors can now plan to return to work. I therefore ask the First Minister about her decision to put on hold her commitment to expanding free childcare. Many returning employees are parents who have waited nearly five years for that policy to be enacted, as was promised, so its postponement will come as a deep disappointment to them. It comes at a time when we need to do all that we can to make it as easy as possible for parents to get back into the workplace, as we all seek to get Scotland back on its feet.

The First Minister has said that she will review the position in December, but that is still five months away. Could that review take place sooner, to give parents who are returning to work hope that the promised policy may yet be delivered before the end of the coming school year?