Increasing the amount of free childcare is one of the major policies at the heart of the SNP’s newly launched manifesto in Aberdeenshire.
SNP council candidates unveiled their manifesto for May’s local authority elections at a launch event in Ellon yesterday.
The SNP – which currently runs Aberdeenshire Council in partnership with Labour and Progressive Independent councillors – is pledging to double the amount of free childcare available to local parents.
This would see the total support available increased to 30 hours a week.
Other key pledges include a commitment to see at least 2,500 affordable homes built over the next five years, along with a multi-million pound move to increase the involvement of communities in policy and budget decisions and give them more of a say on how these decisions are made.
Aberdeenshire Council co-leader Richard Thomson said: “We’re putting communities at the heart of our manifesto.
“We’re going to double the amount of childcare that’s provided free for three and four-year-olds and vulnerable two-year-olds in Aberdeenshire.
“That will be transformational for a number of families across Aberdeenshire, particularly rural areas where there often isn’t that wraparound childcare from school to home.
“I speak from experience. I’ve got a four-year-old and a two-year-old. We stay in Foveran and we were fortunate to get a place with a local nursery school.
“But both myself and my partner work and it’s difficult to juggle that.”
The SNP manifesto also commits to lobbying to take the new A96 route east of Inverurie and away from Bennachie and supporting the re-establishment of the Buchan rail link and a rolling programme of schools investment.