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Election letters 2019 / Nationalising the credit and outsourcing the blame

In response to Jenny Welsh’s letter Lack of additional nursery hours huge strain on working families (SN, 26 August 2019).

It is tough and unsustainable for parents to be forced to rely on the goodwill of friends and neighbours to get through the working week because child care provisions are inadequate. I remember the struggles of balancing work with raising my daughters.

Liberal Democrats worked hard to convince the SNP that expanding childcare is one of the best investments a government can make. Childcare was one of this government’s flagship promises, but islanders have been let down on this just as they have on ferry fares, hospital waits and broadband.

It’s a real disappointment to me and my colleagues that the present SNP scheme doesn’t give parents the flexibility they need to really take advantage of it.

It’s awful that we have lost Sandwick Central nursery. This didn’t come as a surprise to the government. We have been warning them for months, and Tavish Scott took it to the very top and put it to the First Minister months ago.

Unfortunately it seems that the Scottish Government want all the credit for this scheme, and yet where there are problems, there is a point plank refusal to accept any responsibility. They nationalise the credit and outsource the blame.

Last week I visited Peerie Foxes in Lerwick which is sadly in danger of going under too. This will only get worse, unless something changes.

The Scottish Government can’t do this on the cheap and they’re putting valued services in jeopardy by doing so.

We need to see effective wraparound care, because parents don’t just work 9 til 5. We also know the government isn’t training people fast enough so those processes need to be stepped up immediately.

This problem is urgent. That’s why I’ve already told childcare providers that if I am elected on Thursday this will be my top priority in the first week of being an MSP, because time is of the essence.

Beatrice Wishart
Liberal Democrat candidate for Shetland