At the Education Executive of Falkirk Council held on 6th of September a report was heard from the council’s Director of Children’s Services, Robert Naylor. The subject being the SNP Government’s proposals to invest another £100m into closing the gap between the children in the lowest income households and the rest.
The response from Labour, predictably negative.
1. On the governments decision to offer parents double the hours of free childcare from 600 hours to 1140 hours per week giving real opportunities to single parents in particular..
Labour’s response, this will be bad for children because they will be in the nursery classes too long. Not trusting the ability of parents to judge for themselves what is best for their children is traditional with Labour whose record does not suggest they know better.
2. If the proposals win favour with the parents of young children this will require the employment of a significant number of additional professional staff thus creating jobs and increasing the skills pool.
Having to take on additional staff thus creating employment is a bad thing claims the Labour members.
3. The capital investment this proposal has will bring will create jobs within the local construction industry thus boosting the local economy.
Labour’s response, this will make works more expressive and is therefore a bad thing.
4. All indications are that the SNP initiative of free school meals for all P1 – P3 continues thus ensuring at least one full meal per day for children from lower income households.
Labour’s response, “we certainly wouldn’t be spending money on such as this”
5. The £100m investment will come through an increase in Council Tax for the highest bands thus the increased burden will fall on the better off, in other words, through progressive taxation.
Labour’s response, despite banging on for years seeking increased Council Tax bills on all bands, they are against this form of funding for projects such as reducing inequality. The conclusion is that Council Tax increases on the low paid are OK but not when the burden affects only the better off.
6. The changes will be introduced in 2020 by the Scottish Government who have intimated that local government will be involved in the direction and detail of all aspects of this policy development.
Labour’s response was to criticise the SNP Government for not having finalised details on all aspects of the legislation.
7. The commitment of the Scottish Government to continue the promotion of Gaelic to preserve a part of our culture and heritage.
Labour’s view of any increase in Gaelic was to bemoan the potential requirement to have to produce facilities to provide actual teaching space.
Falkirk Council SNP Education Spokesperson, Cllr Gordon Hughes, said,
“Sadly we have Labour opposing a policy that benefits the most vulnerable within our communities.”
“The opposition for oppositions sake is not what young people deserve nor what their parents want to hear.”
“A substantial amount of additional expenditure is also being provided and Labour need to not only welcome this but put it to the best use on the part of educational provision for those with greatest need.”