A GROWING number of cash-strapped families are benefitting from free childcare, a new report shows.

Latest figures released by the Scottish Government reveal that more than 5,000 youngsters across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire receive free early learning and childcare.

And, on average, this is saving families £5,000 per eligible child.

The report has been welcomed by Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur, whose constituency stretches from Johnstone to Barrhead.

He said: “Scotland is the only part of the UK to offer 1,140 hours of free childcare to all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.

“This has saved families in my Renfrewshire South constituency £5,000 per eligible child, which is a significant saving at a time when costs are skyrocketing as a result of the Tory-made cost-of-living crisis.

“Childcare also benefits children by enriching their early years and giving them the confidence and skills they need to prepare them for school.”

Data shows that 2,729 youngsters aged three or four in Renfrewshire are receiving the 1,140 hours of free childcare on offer, with 1,693 benefitting in East Renfrewshire.

The number of two-year-olds benefitting in each area is 335 and 66 respectively.

Across Scotland, 83,237 children aged two to five have been accessing the full 1,140 hours for free.

Figures also show the number of children benefitting has increased by 3% on the previous year.

Mr Arthur added: “The Scottish Government continues to provide support for families in Renfrewshire South and across Scotland with measures like this and other support such as the Scottish Child Payment, which will be extended to all eligible under-16s by the end of the year.”