A NORTH Ayrshire mum is outraged by the ‘postcode lottery’ that means her son will get less than half the childcare hours funded compared to others just a matter of miles away.

Sarah-Jane Lamond, 35, and her family were depending on the 1,140 free childcare hours councils had been expected to offer by August.

But since the Scottish Government revised the date, she is worried that they will struggle to regain financial stability after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

She told the Herald: “I’m shielding and self employed, had a rough few months financially.

“Now to be told my son is basically not equal to others a few miles away. It’s unbelievable.”

Sarah-Jane’s son Harris, who turns three in October, goes to a nursery in Renfrewshire, although the family live in Kilbirnie.

His nursery were ready to provide him with the 1,140 hours by January 2021, Sarah-Jane said.

But then she received a phone call to tell her Harris would only be getting 600 hours because North Ayrshire Council weren’t funding the full amount.

“I’m obviously very outraged at the idea that my son is part of a postcode lottery where he will be given around half of the hours, compared to another child just a matter of miles away,” she said. “Surely as a country where we strive for equality this is scandalous.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Sarah-Jane Lamond with her husband Chris and her two children, Isla, aged 7, and Harris, 2.Sarah-Jane Lamond with her husband Chris and her two children, Isla, aged 7, and Harris, 2.

One of the Scottish Government’s key pledges was to double the number of funded childcare hours.

But COVID-19 meant councils were told they no longer had to meet the August 2020 deadline.

Earlier this month, children’s minister Maree Todd said the policy will not be introduced in the 2020-21 school year.

The change in policy has meant families’ work plans have been thrown into chaos. For some the cost of childcare has doubled and some private nurseries, which were expecting the increased hours, are now considering job cuts or even closure.

Sarah-Jane is a mobile massage therapist and has been shielding since the start of lockdown, meaning she has been unable to work at all.

She said: “Our future is in jeopardy.

“I had to access my credit union to take a loan out against my savings.

“That’s not money that you’re supposed to have to use to get by.”

Sarah-Jane said that if she isn’t able to get back to work, she believes it could take a year before the family get back to how they were before the pandemic.

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council said: “We are currently reviewing

our plans in light of the Deputy First Minister’s announcement.

“We hope to move towards the 600 hours for Early Years and Childcare, however, this will be in line with Scottish Government guidance.

“We are currently only delivering emergency critical childcare to the children of key worker and vulnerable families.

“We will follow the Scottish government guidance in relation to re-opening schools and early learning an childcare and aim to deliver a minimum of 600 hours to all eligible children as soon as the guidance allows.”