See this from the Scottish government website today:
‘Almost a billion pounds will be invested annually to fund the huge expansion of early learning and childcare, transforming the life chances of children in Scotland. Following extensive engagement to reach a shared understanding of the costs of the expansion, Scottish Ministers and COSLA Leaders have reached agreement on a multi-year funding package. This will see the Scottish Government invest by 2021-22 an additional £567 million per year to ensure that every child can access 1140 hours of fully funded early learning and childcare, bringing total annual public spend on early learning and childcare to around £990 million.’
COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor, Conservative, said:
‘This is a landmark agreement between the two spheres of government in Scotland. Local government is fully committed to early learning and childcare expansion to 1140 hours. COSLA and Scotland’s Council Leaders are fully behind the policy. Today’s agreement by Council Leaders in agreeing the multi- year funding deal is a culmination of months of hard work, negotiation and real partnership working behind the scenes. We needed to get this policy right from the start, together with the level of funding. I think we have achieved this by working together.’
COSLA’s Education Spokesperson Councillor Stephen McCabe, Labour, added:
‘In my role as COSLA’s Children and Young people Spokesperson my main objective is to ensure that every child in Scotland is offered the best possible start in life, today’s agreement sets us down this road. This is a bold deal between national and local government on a transformational policy that will be beneficial for the young people of Scotland. It would be good if, going forward, we could replicate the joint working that we have achieved in this policy area across the board.’
Isn’t this refreshing? The Scottish mainstream media have mostly ignored the story and the BBC felt obliged to try to contradict what all three parties seem to have now fully agreed at the end of April with a hypothetical concern from back in February:
‘But spending watchdog Audit Scotland warned in February of a “significant risk” that local authorities would not be able to fund the expansion.’
Is it possible, BBC Scotland, that the final deal actually dealt with the Audit Scotland concerns two months earlier?
So, even when the SNP are backed by the opposition parties, they’re still wrong.
However, let’s finish on a positive by repeating McCabe’s hope that we might see more of this kind of thing in the interest of Scotland and less of the petty tribalism so common.
It would be good if, going forward, we could replicate the joint working that we have achieved in this policy area across the board