A LABOUR MSP has hit out at the Scottish Government for rolling out overly-ambitious child care provision.

Mary Fee’s concerns came after an Audit Scotland report showing the risks of the recruitment and building programme.

The childcare expansion will see eligible two-year-olds and all three- and four-year-olds receive 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare.

West Dunbartonshire Council have made this a key priority for the next 10 years, investing £330,000 in refurbishing Auchnacraig Nursery in Faifley, where the facility is set to welcome increased hours and age range, having previously only serving 3-5 year olds.

The authority has also spent money on improvements at Our Lady of Loretto in Clydebank and at Ferryfield and Braehead elsewhere in West Dunbartonshire.

During a debate in Holyrood, Ms Fee said: “Legal advice shows that private providers may not have to pay their staff the living wage and we want the Scottish Government to acknowledge this loophole and set out how they plan to address this in the coming months.

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“The most significant challenges facing the expansion are recruitment of staff and the building of infrastructure projects.

“The expansion poses risks to the sustainability of partner providers and childminders. It is teetering on the edge. The only way we will find out the success or failure is through the experiences of children and families.

“The Scottish Government has five months to get this right and five months to prevent families from being let down.”

In response to Ms Fee’s concerns, children’s minister Maree Todd said: “We are on course to deliver the most generous, high quality early learning and childcare offer in the UK, which can transform the lives of children. I’ve seen and heard of the way children’s confidence and communication skills have been boosted by the care and learning they’ve received, while they’re also getting access to opportunities such as outdoor learning.

“Through our strong partnership working with local government, so much has already been achieved. There are already thousands of additional staff in post, and councils will continue to grow their teams over the coming months.”