Local authorities are required to provide access to statutory funded early learning and childcare (ELC) for any 'eligible… pre-school child belonging to their area'. This includes all 3 and 4 year olds (from a relevant start date) and some 2 year olds.
The definition of an 'eligible pre-school child' is set out in section 47(2) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 ('the 2014 Act') and in Regulations made under that section: the Provision of Early Learning and Childcare (Specified Children) (Scotland) Order 2014 ('the 2014 Order').
Local authorities also have a discretionary power to provide access to funded ELC to any other child as they see fit.
This instrument amends the income threshold for two of the eligibility criteria covered in the 2014 Order due to an increase in the National Living Wage. The criteria relate to children who are eligible for access to funded ELC due to their parents' receipt of: working tax credits and child tax credit; or universal credit. We intend to increase the thresholds:
- From £7320 for those in receipt of working tax credits and child tax credit to £7500 per annum.
- From £610 per month for those in receipt of universal credit to £625 per month.
The purpose of these amendments is to maintain the profile of the eligible 2 year old population.
The Equality Impact Assessment process on this amendment has concentrated on assessing whether any of the protected characteristics are likely to be represented in the profile of families meeting this specific eligibility criteria.
Through this process we have identified some positive impacts on the basis of sex, disability, race and religion or belief as these groups appear more likely to meet the relevant eligibility criteria. In particular for women who are more likely to head lone parent households.
We have not identified any elements of this amendment that discriminate against any of the protected characteristics either directly or indirectly.
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