Considerable improvements to the accessibility and flexibility of free childcare are needed, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

The party will use its debating time at Holyrood to raise issues surrounding the current provision and ministers' plans to almost double it by 2020.

The debate follows the publication of a report by the public spending watchdog warning of "significant risks" to the Scottish Government's policy.

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The government has pledged to increase paid-for nursery places from the current 600 hours to 1,140 for three and four-year-olds, and eligible two-year-olds, by August 2020, equivalent to about 30 hours a week in term time.

However the Accounts Commission report said councils would find it would difficult to increase the infrastructure and workforce to the levels required, in the limited time available.

The Tories said parents in some areas were already finding it difficult to access free hours at suitable times and locations.

Meanwhile the party also call for progress on a flexible childcare voucher system.

Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne said: "The Scottish Conservatives believe that the delivery of high quality childcare will not happen unless there are considerable improvements in its accessibility and flexibility for parents.

"Increasing the number of hours on a targeted basis is important but it can only bring limited benefit if these additional hours cannot be used effectively."

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She added: "The Scottish Conservatives have long argued for a flexible childcare voucher system.

"Last year, the Scottish Government said it was looking to introduce exactly this to be known as a childcare account but nothing has happened.

"It is time to change all that and give parents what they want."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The Scottish Government is committed to fully funding the expansion to 1,140 hours and we are currently working with local authorities to consider the multi-year funding requirements, which we plan to agree with Cosla by the end of April.

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"Our focus for the expansion is on ensuring high-quality provision and increasing choice for parents and carers.

"With regards to a childcare account, we made very clear in the blueprint action plan for 2017-18, which we published last March, that we consider there to be some merit in this approach at an appropriate time.

"We are in the process of commissioning a feasibility study to explore the costs and benefits of introducing such an account in the future, to ensure that we give careful consideration to the associated practical and systems requirements."