Scotland announces Covid-related grants for childminders.
The Scottish Government has announced grants of up to £750 for all registered childminders to make up for the financial impact of low attendance during the pandemic.
The grants – totalling £3.2 million in all – will be paid to all childminders registered with the Care Inspectorate. The money is an addition to £1million announced last month. That drew criticism for not being sufficient to cover more than a third of childminders.
The Scottish Childminding Association welcomed the extra money, but said there were still concerns about childminders’ viability during the pandemic. A survey last year found that 79 per cent of childminders had seen numbers affected by Covid and that 46 per cent were worried they might have to fold within six months without extra investment.
Unlike in England, childcare has been closed to all but key workers and vulnerable children during the most recent national lockdown in Scotland with expectations that it will reopen from week beginning 22 February.
Children’s Minister Maree Todd said: “Childminders are a vital and valued part of our childcare sector, providing high quality care and learning in a safe and nurturing environment.
“Just as many other childcare providers have experienced financial pressures as a result of the pandemic and the restrictions that have been placed on them, childminders too have raised genuine concern about the future sustainability of their businesses.
“I’m pleased that we have been able to increase the funding available to support the profession, and by simplifying the process we will be able to get the funds to those who need them more quickly.”