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Stirling Council Nursery Cuts Condemned


Categories: Childcare, Children and Young People, Constituency, Stirling Council

Concerning News Report of Families Leaving Killin

Stirling politicians have condemned the devastating impact of budget cuts by Stirling Council, after it was reported the first family are planning to leave their rural village due to lack of nursery provision.

Labour and Tory Councillors approved a budget of cuts earlier this year, voting down fully-costed SNP proposals which would have maintained nursery provision for 0-2 year olds. Parents with work responsibilities, especially those facing commutes to Stirling city itself or Glasgow, have hit out at the Council’s recklessness and lack of consideration for rural services.

As reported by the BBC earlier this week, the budget cuts are expected to come into effect in the 2024 cycle – whilst the Council itself admits provision for 0-2 year olds will become statutory from 2026, leading some to question the wisdom of removing provision for two years.

Trossachs and Teith SNP Councillor Gene Maxwell said:

‘As a Councillor representing so many rural communities, I’m furious the Labour-Tory alliance are refusing to see sense and do the right thing by these young families. These cuts are disproportionately affecting the future variability of rural villages and towns across Stirling – yet the fully-costed SNP budget was voted down in favour of one containing these cuts. I’m gobsmacked these cuts were proposed at all, especially as the Council itself admits 0-2 provision will be required from 2026 anyway. Stirling Labour Leader Chris Kane should reconsider this disastrous decision. People say this issue shouldn’t be about politics – well I’m afraid it absolutely is, and this is the result of a Labour-Tory Council.’

Stirling MP Alyn Smith said:

‘Rural communities face several challenges, especially in the provision of vital services. It is the job of their local government to bring down barriers, not put them up. It’s long been the political consensus to support rural communities, particularly young families, to ensure the long-term viability of our rural towns and villages, which makes Stirling Council’s choices here all the more frustrating. Labour and Tories Councillors should own their mistake, reverse course and apologise before even more damage is done.’

Stirling MSP Evelyn Tweed said: 

‘It is disappointing that the Labour/Conservative administration at Stirling Council have made this decision. I have had contact from a number of worried constituents who are now unsure of what they will do if they are not able to access childcare for their young children. It is clear that this was a decision that Stirling Council did not have to make, as the SNP Council Group proposed an alternative budget that would have retained the 0-2 years provision at Killin, which is why makes this decision all the more disappointing.

‘The Scottish Government are committed to expanding early years childcare which is why 0-2 years provision will become statutory in 2026. It is baffling that the Council have decided to remove provision that they are only going to have to reinstate in a couple of years’ time. My concern is that they may not be able to recruit the necessary staff to meet their statutory duty in 2026 if they proceed with its removal now. I am also concerned that there may be no fall back position if the Council cannot encourage local child minders to work in the area.

‘I know the community are fighting this cut hard and I do hope that the Labour/Conservative administration will listen to their genuine concerns and reconsider the cut to childcare provision in Killin.’