Scottish Parliamentary Committee to contact Government and councils over bid to abolish or freeze business rates for nurseries

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Press release

A petition to scrap business rates for childcarers has been heard by MSPs at the Scottish Parliament.

The Public Petitions Committee at Holyrood committed to write to the Government, local authorities, the Voice Union and Parenting Across Scotland about the issue.

National Day Nurseries Association network chair Stephanie Dodds organised the petition, saying that soaring rates would lead to increased fees for parents and could even put some nurseries out of business.

Stephanie, of the East and Midlothian network, submitted a petition to Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee highlighting the effect of recent business revaluations.

She told the committee that nurseries in Dundee and Aberdeen are facing increases of around 50%, while in Edinburgh, increases could be 70% or more.

One nursery in Renfrewshire was said to be facing a 215% rise, while in Edinburgh the highest increase is 147%.

Stephanie said: “A key issue for nurseries, like all small businesses, is balancing our books so we can deliver high-quality childcare, whilst remaining sustainable and keeping fees affordable for parents.

“Many private nurseries are facing financial crises as a result of rising business rates coupled with chronic underfunding.”

Claire Schofield, Director of Policy, Membership and Communications at NDNA, said: “It’s a cost pressure that has to be passed on to parents, and when we are looking at expansion to 1,140 hours it is actually going to make it that much harder for nurseries to get involved in that and remain viable.”

Chair of the committee, Johann Lamont MSP told Stephanie and Claire: “I think you have made a very strong case in terms of the issues facing childcare and the importance of childcare … I am curious as to why transitional relief included pubs and bed and breakfasts but not nurseries.

“Without coming to a conclusion as to what should happen, we want to explore this a little further.”

The committee agreed to contact the Scottish Government, councils, other childcare organisations and parenting groups to seek further information and views on the issue.

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