Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd December 2020.

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The First Minister:

The guidance is as it is because local authorities requested flexibility to put in place their own local arrangements. I appeal to them to continue to liaise closely with parents to ensure that their arrangements are as they need to be. This is an incredibly difficult time for everybody, but particularly for parents who are, again, trying to juggle the demands of work and childcare. Even in level 4, if there are no other options, there is access to childminding and informal childcare arrangements. However, we encourage local authorities to ensure that they are as expansive as possible in their definition of a key worker.

The most important aim for us all—led, of course, by the actions that the Government is taking—is to get the virus, and especially the new strain, under control and suppressed as much and as far as we can so that the next period, which will involve the most stringent restrictions, which will impact particularly on schools and childcare, will be as short as is feasible.