Parliamentary Question for the Minister of Children and Youth Affairs ( Francis Fitzgerald TD).
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 30/04/2014
To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on the benefits of tax credits for persons using child care; if such a measure would assist working parents; if she will consider introducing such a measure; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
I am aware of the relatively high cost of child care in this country and of the difficulties that this presents, particularly where both parents are in employment outside of the home. To help address the issue, funding of €260 million is provided annually by my Department to support a number of targeted child care support programmes that assist parents in accessing quality and affordable child care.
For example, the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme provides funding to community-based child care services to enable them to provide child care at reduced rates to parents in receipt of social welfare payments or parents in employment who are on low or relatively modest incomes. My Department also implements the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme which provides one free preschool year to all eligible children before they commence primary school.
Tax incentives for working parents who incur child care costs were previously proposed, and the issue of tax allowances or credits was considered, prior to the introduction of the targeted child care supports. A number of issues emerged at that time which did not favour the introduction of child care tax relief.
A review of the child care support programmes is being undertaken by my Department this year with a view to identifying areas where they could be enhanced and improved to ensure the best use of the investment which is currently being made in this area. All proposals relating to child care supports will be considered as part of this review.