§ Mr. Barnes
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what provision his Department makes for child care facilities for staff; what is the extent of subsidy to nursery places and holiday play schemes; if his Department(a) subscribes to Childcare Solutions and (b) makes child care vouchers available; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Lang
[holding answer 7 July 1994]: The Scottish Office has its own on-site nursery at East Craigs, Edinburgh which is registered for 15 full-time places and operates on a mix of full and part-time attendance. Those using the facility meet its running costs with accommodation costs being met by my Department. The Scottish Office takes occupancy of a major new building at Victoria Quay, Leith in the autumn of 1995. Plans for this building include a 30–35 place nursery.
Staff in my Department can also place children in the central holiday playscheme in Edinburgh. The facilities are available to staff on a full repayment basis although my Department makes an annual contribution of around £500 to the playscheme to help with the cost of outings. Discussions are also taking place about access to a playscheme in the Glasgow area.
Additionally, my Department has several other ways in which it helps its staff with child care responsibilities, including special leave, paternity leave, flexible working patterns and career breaks. Although my Department does not subscribe to Childcare Solutions or make use of child care vouchers, it is shortly to introduce a scheme whereby staff can make claims for the reimbursement of reasonable and unavoidable child care costs incurred when the normal working pattern is disrupted.