A 26p rise in the rate paid by Renfrewshire Council to funded childcare providers has been approved by elected members.

The hourly fee for certain private or voluntary sector nurseries and childminders for placements of three to five-year-olds increased from £5.71 to £5.97.

The local authority relies on these approved funded providers (AFPs) in fulfilling its duty of delivering early learning and childcare (ELC) to all eligible children.

The move was agreed at the education and children’s services policy board on Thursday.

Councillor Gillian Graham, Labour group education spokesperson, said: “We met with external early year providers earlier in the year.

“I think some of them were struggling business-wise, so it’s good to see the increase in payment. I’m sure they will welcome it.”

Meanwhile, the existing hourly rate of £8.50 paid to AFPs for ELC for eligible two to three-year-olds has been continued.

A review of this rate will take place for future years.

Councillor Carolann Davidson, a Labour representative for Paisley East and Central, asked for an explanation on why this fee would be staying the same.

Julie Calder, head of education, said: “In terms of that £8.50 rate, I think it’s important to note that we pay a significantly higher rate for this particular age group than many local authorities across the country.

“We have been meeting regularly with our funded providers as we work our way through this process and, in terms of the £8.50 rate, that has not been flagged as a concern.

“But what’s important when we move forward is that we continue to work with our funded providers.

“I think that when we met with them to tell them what our proposal was and what our recommendation was, they thanked us for the engagement, they thanked us for the journey that we’re on.

“Of course, we understand the pressures that we’re all under financially and we want to continue to work with them, so they understand that this is a journey that we’re on and we’re on together.

“I think that’s important as we work through the challenging financial circumstances that we find ourselves in.”