Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said he did not make the allegation lightly
A Scottish cabinet minister has called for an investigation into alleged racial discrimination at a nursery that refused a place for his young daughter.
Humza Yousaf, the devolved government’s health secretary, said a Dundee nursery had claimed there were no places available for his two-year-old daughter Amal.
But they said a white friend who called to check was told there were places available on three afternoons a week at the same establishment.
Mr Yousaf said applications had been tested by other family members and reporters, with “white-sounding” and “ethnic-sounding” names being accepted and rejected respectively on the same day.
A spokesperson for the owners of the Little Scholars Nursery in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, said 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 spokesperson told The Daily Record newspaper, which first reported the claims: “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 he and his wife had contacted the Care Inspectorate and are also seeking legal advice on the issue.
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.”
The minister, who has played a high profile role in Scotland’s response to the Covid pandemic, 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”.
He added: “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.”
“With no explanation from Little Scholars, we will pursue the truth and get answers we deserve.”