Hard-pressed parents in Glasgow are shouldering huge hikes in nursery fees to help plug a £20 million funding gap

Maureen McKenna, Education Director, has admitted the decision was taken to generate income to meet the budget shortfall.

Parents are furious at the increase of more than 50 per cent from £2.54 per hour to £4 an hour, with a further rise to £5 in the pipeline.

Ms McKenna, who has been in charge of education in the city for more than 10 years, said the decision was related to council budget cuts.

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An email issued in her name stated: “I can advise that the income to be generated from the fee increase is being used to contribute towards meeting the funding gap in the council’s budget for financial year 2018/19.

“An income generation option has been approved by council rather than alternative measures such as reduction to service delivery.

“Fees in nurseries are already heavily subsidised and the financial climate, regrettably, means that this is no longer sustainable.”

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The increase in nursery fees will bring in an extra £1.25m for the council in this financial year.

The city-wide 3% council tax increase will bring in £6.3m.

The council faced a budget shortfall of £20m.

Johann Lamont, Glasgow Labour MSP, has been dealing with constituents who have seen their fees increased by hundreds of pounds a month.

She said: “The SNP has used every excuse in the book to explain this unjust and unfair increase in childcare fees.

“We now know beyond doubt that the real reason is the council need to fill a funding gap caused by years of cuts from the SNP government in Edinburgh.

“Instead of telling these families to pay more, SNP councillors should be demanding their colleagues in Holyrood give the city the funding it needs.

“It is completely improper for SNP councillors to pass the buck to thousands of families in our city.”

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A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “The increase in nursery fees was part of the council budget announced in February and will bring our fees in line with partner provision as we all work towards 1140 hours.

“We are offering more and more free hours to working families who are able to access some of the highest quality provision in early learning and childcare.”