Health Secretary accuses nursery of ‘discrimination’ after two-year-old daughter refused place

Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has complained to watchdogs amid concerns over discrimination at a nursery that refused a place for his young daughter.

Mr Yousaf (pictured) said he and his wife had contacted the Care Inspectorate and are also seeking legal advice on the issue.

It comes after he said the Little Scholars Nursery in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, had said there was no place available for his two-year-old daughter Amal.

The Daily Record newspaper reported that his wife Nadia El-Nakla had emailed nursery bosses in May, asking if there were any available places.

The couple alleged they were told there were “no available spaces in the nursery” – the second time they said they had been turned down.

But they claimed that when a white friend asked if there were spaces for her two-year-old son, just two days later the nursery told her places were available on three afternoons a week.

Mr Yousaf said: “We are fooling ourselves if we believe discrimination doesn’t exist in Scotland. I believe evidence we have proves our case beyond doubt.

“As well as reporting the nursery to the Care Inspectorate we are also seeking legal advice.”

A spokesman for the nursery owners insisted they were “extremely proud of being open and inclusive to all” insisting that “any claim to the contrary is demonstrably false and an accusation that we would refute in the strongest possible terms”.

The spokesman told The Daily Record: “In addition to our owners being of Asian heritage, across more than a decade we have regularly welcomed both children and staff from a range of different religious, cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds, including two Muslim families currently.

“We have also regularly made arrangements to accommodate different lifestyles by, for example, providing a halal menu for those children who come from Muslim families.”

Mr Yousaf said that contacting the Care Inspectorate with their concerns was “not a step my wife and I have taken lightly”.

He tweeted: “After our nursery application for our daughter was refused a 2nd time, my wife asked her White Scottish friend to put in an application for a Child the same age. Within 24hrs of refusing our application my wife’s friend’s was accepted.”

Mr Yousaf went on to claim that “three White-Scottish applicants offered tours of nursery and spaces, often within less than 24hrs”, while at the same time that applicants with Muslim names were “being rejected, including application for my daughter”.

The Health Secretary hit out: “It doesn’t matter what my position or how senior in Govt I may be, some will always see me, my wife and children by our ethnicity or religion first.

“We have given Little Scholars nursery every opportunity for an explanation for the disparity in treatment, none has been forthcoming.”

Mr Yousaf went on to allege that they had “uncovered what I believe to be a private nursery discriminating applicants on basis of their ethnicity/religion”.

And he added: “With no explanation from Little Scholars, we will pursue the truth and get answers we deserve.”

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