Nurseries and childcare centres are to benefit from new play equipment, climbing frames and playmats as a result of extra funding announced today.
Local authorities will share in a £12.8 million package as part of the Executive's ongoing programme to modernise services for young people.
Education Minister Hugh Henry said:
"Small things often make a big difference and that's partly what I want this cash to provide. I've asked councils to spend some of the money on play equipment. Most nurseries will have a wish-list ready, and very clear ideas about how they could use a little money for new mats, outdoor climbing frames or other small items to help children all across Scotland to develop - physically, intellectually and socially."
Of course it's nice that the kiddies may get new mats and climbing frames. But is the Executive really in a position to judge the adequacy of nursery equipment across Scotland? And why does the Executive consider that new climbing frames are a priority compared with, for example, additional nursery nurses? And, if spare cash has become available, should this not simply be added to the local authority education budgets, leaving them to judge how it should be best spent?
No, the Executive can't resist meddling in things which are none of its business. Worse, it wants the credit for everything, even if it means subverting the powers of local authorities and the local government finance system, by doling out cash in dribs and drabs (and no doubt requiring local authorities to have spent it by the end of the financial year on 31 March).