In the finale of the SNP conference, Scotland’s First Minister will defend her party’s record over 10 years in power and claim it is time to “put Scotland in the driving seat” with new domestic policies.
In her speech ending the three-day conference in Glasgow, the SNP leader will announce new policies on housing, the economy, energy, young people and families battling to cope with the cost of living.
While she will re-affirm her party’s commitment to a second referendum on Scottish independence and opposition to Brexit, Ms Sturgeon will take on critics who claim she has neglected domestic issues.
She will say: “A country which values education and cares for future generations will always be in the driving seat.
“At the heart of all that we do is a determination to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.
“Right now, we deliver around 16 hours of early education and childcare a week – generally, that’s either a morning or an afternoon session each day.
“It means some parents still face a struggle to find and fund the childcare they need to allow them to work.
“We are going to change that.
“By 2020, we will deliver around 30 hours a week for every three and four year old and eligible two year old.
“It will give children the best start in life. And working parents will save around £350 a month on the costs of childcare.
“Often when I have talked about this policy, I’ve been asked – sometimes sceptically – if we will really be able to fund it properly.
“Well, today, we put our money where our mouth is.
“Over the past few months, we have undertaken detailed work to assess the investment needed.
“Right now, we invest around £420m a year in early years education and childcare.
“I can announce today that by the end of this Parliament, that will rise to £840m a year.”
In her speech, the First Minister is also expected to reaffirm that she cannot spell out a timetable for a second referendum on Scottish independence until the uncertainties over Brexit are resolved.
She will also defend the SNP’s record in government in Scotland over the past decade, rejecting criticism that the party has a poor record on health, education and the Scottish economy.