Tuesday, 6th October 2015
- Reducing childcare costs needs to be a priority in Budget 2016.
Recent surveys have indicated that parents need to be earning up to €30,000 per year just to cover the costs of childcare for two children. This places a severe financial burden on already hard pressed families. It’s important that in next week’s Budget, the Government commits to strategic investment in childcare to ensure that we increase affordability, quality and accessibility for parents and children across Ireland.
A recent report, launched by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly TD, provides a clear path for future investment and represents an ambitious and detailed plan for childcare in Ireland. For parents some of the recommendations that will be most useful will be a period of paid parental leave and an extension of the free pre-school year. Setting up a simplified single subsidy scheme based on income, that will cover both community and private settings, would also ensure parents have wider choice and that all service providers have access to Government support. These changes would give parents flexibility in how they use the supports provided by Government, to best meet the needs of their family.
Access to affordable childcare, which is of a high standard, is an issue which is central to the lives of parents throughout Ireland. It is my hope that in next week’s Budget real and meaningful steps will be taken by this Government to help reduce the cost of childcare, as well as helping to improve the quality.
Fine Gael is prioritising job creation, because more jobs mean less tax for people already working and more revenue to provide better services. Government action to help create an accessible and affordable childcare system is vital if people are to be given the opportunity to return to the workforce.
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