Michelle Ballantyne MSP welcomes bespoke rates proposal for nurseries

Scottish Conservative MSP for South Scotland Michelle Ballantyne has welcomed proposals, outlined in the Report of the Barclay Review on Non-Domestic Rates, for a novel system of business rates relief for day nurseries to support childcare provision.

The report, published by former Chair of RBS Kenneth Barclay, determined that ‘one of the most important ways of supporting growth is ensuring that the workforce is supported by convenient, affordable and accessible childcare’. It concluded that 100% relief from rates from 2018-19 would ‘enable more of the workforce to return to work after starting a family’. It is anticipated that implementation of this proposal will cost around £7 million annually.

Commenting on the report, childcare and early years spokesperson Michelle Ballantyne welcomed the proposals and their potential impact on the sustainability and affordability of nurseries.

Scottish Conservative childcare and early years spokesperson Michelle Ballantyne said:

“The Barclay Review goes some way towards repairing a broken system; but it is not the fundamental overhaul many people, myself included, hoped for. However, the recommendation from the Barclay Review will be music to the ears of nurseries all across Scotland.

“I have heard first-hand from nurseries their fears for the future, caused by exponential increases in their business rates. They fear for their sustainability and for the affordability and quality of the childcare they provide. If nurseries are prevented from providing quality, affordable childcare, there is a real risk that the attainment gap for the most disadvantaged children will become more entrenched.

“As with many issues raised with this Scottish Government, the concerns of hard-working people have fallen on deaf ears.

“I have submitted a written parliamentary question to the Scottish Government to ask if they will implement this important recommendation. It is my sincere hope that, for once, they will sit up and take notice of the robust evidence staring them in the face.”