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STUC 2014 Dundee

Deliver affordable and flexible childcare now

Carol Ball
Carol Ball

The Scottish Government should deliver on its post referendum plans for more affordable childcare now, reform the market to upskill staff and improve their pay; and recognise that accessibility and flexibility are just as important as affordability to working women.

Backing the Community motion, UNISON's Carol Ball laid out the benefits of providing high quality, flexible and affordable childcare to children, families and the economy.

"Increased resources are a must if more children are to access early education and childcare for up to ten hours a day, five days a week, their experiences must be wide and varied, responsive to their all round development and this requires significantly lower staffing ratios", said Carol.

"Staff must hold appropriate qualifications and UNISON’s view is that these should not be below HNC level with access to Continuous Professional Development."

For families, the current provision is too fragmented, not flexible enough and far too expensive. "Families pay around 27% of their income on childcare. Families are having to rely on informal childcare because of cost. Grandparents who have finished their working lives now having to support their families.

"We want services provided by the public sector properly funded and not for profit. This is what families want and deserve", said Carol.

Good childcare also benefits the economy. "It makes good economic sense to provide affordable early education and childcare however employers should not be left off the hook, parents want real choices", said Carol.

"The increase to 600 hours early education and childcare is to be welcomed but it will have an impact on the workforce who deliver these services - predominately women who can have childcare needs of their own. Our members raising issues of increased workloads, longer working hours, reduced time for planning and preparation as a result.

"There is a pay gap of 50% in the salaries of early years workers in the public sector across Scotland. If the workforce is to provide more flexible childcare, their professional role has to be recognised", added Carol.

Date 15 April 2014

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