MSPs pass the Children and Young People Bill

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MSPs passed the wide ranging Children and Young People Bill on 19 February 2014.

The bill was passed with 103 MSPs voting for it and with 15 abstentions.

It will see an increase in free childcare for three, four and vulnerable two-year-olds, from 475 to 600 hours - around 16 hours per week - from August.

The legislation was put forward by the Scottish government in a bid to support its aim of making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.

In addition the bill will allow teenagers in foster, kinship or residential care to continue to receive this support up until the age of 21, and will strengthen the law on school closures, particularly in rural areas.

Children and Young Person Minister Aileen Campbell said it was an "extraordinary piece of legislation" which would "help make Scotland the best place to grow up".

The controversial proposal to assign all youngsters a named person to monitor their wellbeing was one of a number of measures included in the wide-ranging bill.

The Scottish Conservatives opposed the measure, and put forward amendments which would have meant the policy would not apply to all children, arguing this would allow resources to be better targeted at those in need of support.

However a number of amendments from spokeswoman Liz Smith were defeated at the amendment stage.

Opposition MSPs expressed anger and concern that they were being asked to pass the bill without knowing the full cost implications of it.

The Scottish government had been unable to provide MSPs with an estimate of the capital costs of expanding access to free childcare.

A senior civil servant told parliament his team had not had enough time to calculate the costs but confirmed they would be met by the Scottish government.

Scottish Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale accused the Scottish government of "arrogance and incompetence" over the lack of explanation of the named person proposal and the lack of costing for the measures in the bill.

Liz Smith, speaking for the Scottish Conservatives, said her party would abstain at decision time as it could not back the named person proposal and due to problems with the nursery care provision.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur said it had been difficult to see evidence of a collaborative approach from the government given the rejection of so many opposition amendments, but stressed he firmly believed the bill would provide real and significant benefits.

You can watch part one of the amendments here: Children and Young People Bill amendments 1

You can watch part two of the amendments here: Children and Young People Bill amendments 2

You can watch part three of the amendments here: Children and Young People Bill amendments 3

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