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No room in Glasgow nurseries for toddlers

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Glasgow mums are demanding the Scottish Government gives an extra £2m to Glasgow City Council to fund free nursery places

Glasgow mums have written to the First Minister to demand an extra £2m be directed to the city council to ensure their children get access to the 600 hours of free nursery provision they are legally entitled to.

The mums, who have come together under the Fair Funding for Our Kids banner, have also written to Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson to highlight the fact that upto 2,000 children in the city are not currently getting their free hours because of a shortage of full-time places in council run nurseries.

On Tuesday 10 February the council's executive member for children and young people cllr Stephen Curran revealed there is a £2million shortfall in the money provided by the Scottish Government to deliver the policy, which was outlined in last year's Children and Young People Act 2014, in Glasgow.

"While we are sympathetic to their needs it is unrealistic to expect the council to find this money," Cllr Curran is reported to have said.

"We use our available budget to meet our duty with regard to part-time places, but we recognise working parents need more full-time places. The funding we receive from the Scottish Government does not take account of this."

If the First Minister really means to keep her promise to our children she must make sure she funds it properly

Earlier this week, Fair Funding for Our Kids presented a petition to Glasgow City Council Petitions Committee. There was cross-party recognition at the committee that the policy is not currently reaching all children, particularly those with working parents.

However, the committee refused to allocate the £2m that the group has suggested will create a temporary solution to the problem.

Now the mums have turned again to central government, demanding that it provides the money to ensure every child gets the free nursery care they are entitled to.

Alison McIntyre of Fair Funding For Our Kids said: "This is a national problem but it is hitting families in Glasgow hard. We met with the First Minister in January and she told us that each council is given the money to deliver the promise she made to all our children. Now we are being told this is not the case.

“The act does not say that the places must be part-time. It requires every council to make 600 hours available to every child. Right now we estimate 1,000 to 2,000 children are missing out in Glasgow alone because the council offers mainly part-time places in council nurseries that working parents cannot use.“

“If the First Minister really means to keep her promise to our children she must make sure she funds it properly. And if Glasgow really wants to help hard-pressed working parents they need to prioritise more flexible nursery options when they set their budget next week.

“Right now it feels like politicians are passing the parcel about who is responsible for delivering this policy. Meanwhile thousands of children are losing out. It’s depressing and what our kids need is someone to stop playing games and actually sort it.”