SNP will take bold action to support families, vows minister

The SNP would demand increases in maternity pay and longer shared parental leave as part of “bold action to support families”, a Cabinet minister has said.

Speaking ahead of a visit to a parent and baby group in Midlothian in Thursday, Mairi McAllan said parental leave entitlement in the UK currently lags “far behind” that in other European countries.

She said her party has a “bold vision” which “values parents’ time to bond with their baby”.

The SNP manifesto, which was published on Wednesday, sets out a commitment to increase paid maternity leave to one year, and to set maternity pay at 100% of average weekly earnings for the first 12 weeks.

It also includes a commitment to extend shared parental leave from 52 to 64 weeks.

Mairi McAllan speaking to the media at Holyrood
Mairi McAllan is expecting her first child (PA)

Ms McAllan, who is due to start her own maternity leave at the start of next month, said: “The SNP’s bold vision for Scotland values parents’ time to bond with their baby in the crucial early stages of development.

“For too long, families have been short-changed by Westminster with parental leave entitlement that trails far behind our European neighbours.

“At this election, neither Labour nor the Tories will take bold action to support families.

“The SNP are supporting families and the people of Scotland through every stage of life, with the baby box, the Scottish child payment, free tuition, free childcare, free prescriptions and free personal care.

“With the full powers of independence, Scotland can go further and the people that live here will make decisions about Scotland.

“Vote SNP on 4th July for a future made in Scotland, for Scotland.”