Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has expressed her disappointment at what she sees as the ‘missed opportunity’ of the Children and Young People Bill. The Bill was passed in Parliament last week and while Labour did win some concessions from the SNP on certain issues, many important amendments that would have improved the bill were not carried.
The Bill was very controversial, with the concept of the named person attracting much criticism from parents and religious bodies. The SNP were also criticised for not providing MSPs with an estimate of the capital costs of expanding access to free childcare.
Ms McTaggart said “I’m disappointed as this bill could and should have been so much better. There could have been more on childcare improvements, and in support of care leavers and kinship carers but sadly the SNP refused to take on board the concerns of these groups.
What is of real concern to me is how the wide ranging provisions in the Bill are going to be resourced. Despite pushing the Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell on this matter, there was a real lack of costing given for the measures in the bill. I am all too aware that those on the front line in child services are struggling to cope at the moment with the massive workloads they have on their hands. Indeed, we heard from the Royal College of Nursing that 450 extra health visitors would need to be employed if this is going to work on the ground.
Now that the Bill has passed, it is vital that the resources are put in place to support the people who will be implementing these issues and my Scottish Labour colleagues and I will continue to press the Scottish Government on this.”