An additional £842,000 is to be made available to help provide more free and flexible childcare in Argyll and Bute.
The Scottish Government is giving the additional cash to Argyll and Bute Council as part of the Children and Young People Bill, which was debated in the Scottish Parliament on November 21.
The Bill’s measures will save parents of three- and four-year-olds, and looked-after two-year-olds up to £700 a year for each child.
Councils will also have to ask parents about the care they want for their child and offer a choice – for example two full days instead of a few hours every day – to help parents who want to return to work.
Minister for children Aileen Campbell said: “The £840,000 we are giving Argyll and Bute Council will pay for more childcare for local children, including all three and four year olds and the most vulnerable two year olds. We are working hard to help families and this will save parents up to £700 per child per year while the UK Government takes away from families, cutting their benefits by on average £700.
“This saving will help families manage household costs without compromising the quality of care their children receive or forcing parents to make difficult decisions about whether they can afford nursery or other necessities.
“By next year, all councils must ask parents what they want and offer more choice. Together with the extra hours, this could mean two full days of childcare a week instead of a few hours a morning or afternoon – giving mums, in particular, more choices and supporting more women back into work or training.
“This is the best childcare ever given to Scottish families. We are doing a great deal with the powers we have, but we want to do more. We want to have a childcare system among the best in Europe. The Bill is a first step towards this, but while the UK Government remains in control of tax and welfare, we will always be fighting the impact of decisions taken elsewhere.
“That is why we have also asked the Council of Economic Advisers to consider how we can use the powers of an independent Scotland to give an even better deal for children, parents and our economic future.”
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill increases the amount of free childcare for three and four year olds and for two year olds who are looked after or have a kinship care order from 475 to 600 hours a year.
Argyll and Bute council will receive £842,000 from a total package of £190 million to support the Children and Young People Bill, announced by the First Minister in September.