young children playing with toys outside

Scotland’s parties focus on reducing child poverty

With most of the main parties publishing manifestos for Scotland ahead of the General Election on 4 July, NDNA Scotland looks at a round-up of pledges which impact the ELC sector.

NDNA has looked at policies from (in alphabetical order) Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Greens, Scottish Labour, Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party.

We have pulled together key pledges within four main areas:

  • Funded early learning and childcare
  • Other support for parents and families
  • Workforce and training
  • Business and regulation

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA Scotland said: “Bringing children out of poverty has been a particular focus of party pledges across Scotland. Early learning and childcare plays a significant role in reducing child poverty by contributing towards supporting families, enabling parents to work and improving children’s long-term outcomes.

“Although education is a devolved matter, many parties are pledging action on employment rights including parental leave and benefits that can impact on early learning and childcare sector in Scotland. We want parties and candidates to be champions for children and support crucial ELC providers who in turn care for and educate our children day after day.

“Investing in children’s early years is vital for improving their life chances, supporting families and is crucial to our economy. We want to see the parties give all our children the best start in life by making the first five years count.”

General Election 2024 Scottish party manifesto pledges reference guide 

Funded early learning and childcare:

Scottish Conservatives

Scottish Green Party

Scottish Labour

  • Recognises the value of high-quality early years care.
  • Makes it a priority to work with the sector to look at how we can build greater flexibility into the system. This will ensure parents who work shifts or who need greater wraparound care are not excluded from provision

Scottish Lib Dem

  • Ensure all parents can access early learning and childcare that is flexible, affordable and fair
  • Introduce fairer rates for PVI providers for funded hours to cover the actual costs of delivering high-quality early learning and childcare
  • Urgently increasing take-up of funded ELC among eligible two-year-olds
  • Supporting the extension of funded entitlements so that more 2-year-olds get the benefit, preparing for an extension to one-year olds, and ensuring all families have the holiday options and wraparound provision they require

Scottish National Party

  • Continue expansion of childcare, saving families – £5,500 per year
  • strengthen children’s rights further by demanding the UK follow Scotland’s approach to incorporation

Other support for parents and families:

Scottish Conservatives

  • Raise the child benefit earning threshold
  • Accelerate the rollout of Universal Credit to ensure it always pays to work.

Scottish Green Party

  • Abolition of the Two Child Limit, which has pushed over 85,000 children in Scotland into poverty
  • Making Child Benefit universal again by getting rid of Tax Charges
  • Increasing statutory paternity, maternity and shared parental leave to cover 52 weeks full pay
  • Creation of a right to paid leave for people who need time off due to the effects of menstruation, perimenopause and menopause

Scottish Labour

  • will review the parental leave system, so it best supports working families, within our first year in government
  • Recognises the need to better support families with disabled children

Scottish Lib Dem

  • Double Statutory Maternity and Shared Parental Pay to £350 a week. Introduce an extra use-it-or-lose-it month for fathers and partners, paid at 90% of earnings
  • work to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK law

Scottish National Party

  • Increase maternity leave to one year bringing the UK into line with other European countries and promoting shared parental leave.
  • Already increased Scottish Child Payment to £26.70
  • Scrap the two child benefit cap

Workforce and training

Scottish Conservatives

  • 2p reduction in employee National Insurance Contribution
  • Maintain the National Living Wage in each year of the next Parliament at two-thirds of median earnings.

Scottish Green Party

  • Support greater collective bargaining in areas not traditionally well represented, such as the care sector
  • Introduce stronger protections against termination of employment including unfair dismissal
  • Ban zero-hours contracts
  • Raise the minimum wage to establish a real living wage, and ensure it is effectively pegged against inflation. Scrap the current age bands for the minimum wage.

Scottish Labour

  • Make work pay with a New Deal for Working People that will ban exploitative zero-hour contracts, end fire and rehire and deliver a genuine living wage
  • Create jobs and opportunities for young people by improving access to apprenticeships
  • The National Minimum Wage is a genuine living wage which will account for the cost of living. Remove the age bands.

Scottish Lib Dem

  • Make all parental pay and leave day-one rights, and extend them to self-employed parents
  • Make a long-term commitment to funding childcare to improve career progression and give greater certainty to the workforce
  • Review to recommend a genuine living wage across all sectors
  • Set a 20% higher minimum wage for people on zero-hour contracts at times of normal demand

Scottish National Party

  • Employment Rights and minimum wage to scrap zero hours contracts and fire/rehire practices and close the ender pay gap
  • Increase minimum wage to at least the level of the national living wage and increase in line with inflation. End age discrimination of pay levels
  • Scrap sick pay threshold
  • Amend the definition of worker to strengthen protections for those with unfair contracts
  • Defend free university tuition in Scotland

Business

Scottish Conservatives

  • Keep the VAT threshold under review

Scottish Green Party

Scottish Labour

  • Labour will replace the business rates system with a system that raises the same amount in a ‘fairer’ way

Scottish Lib Dem

Scottish National Party

  • Scotland

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