Labour warnings on new childcare funding scheme coming to fruition

The government’s new Childcare Subvention Scheme is having a significantly negative effect on low and middle income families – just as the party had predicted.

Parents who are not in receipt of social welfare or Family Income Supplement are now facing into a winter of rising childcare prices which will inevitably result in a number of them either moving to part-time employment or leaving work altogether.

Last December in the Seanad I criticised the ‘narrow and limited focus’ of the scheme saying that they would do nothing to help the majority of families for whom childcare was ‘difficult to access and very expensive’.

Parents are now saying that they will have a price-hike of up to 100 per cent and for some it will make better economic sense to leave the workforce and care for their children full-time.

The Minister for Children launched these changes by repeatedly emphasising how much money - €153 million – was being spent ont he scheme. But again, it is those low-income families who fall just outside the social welfare criteria who will be hit the most. I was told of a family just yesterday who were paying €200 per week for the care of their two children but will now have to pay €360 under the new rules. The children’s mother is now considering leaving her job.

The changes to the scheme were motivated entirely by a short-term focus on cost, rather than on the needs of the child and working families.

Parents want what is best for their children. They are paying as much for childcare as they are in mortgage repayments. What we need is a real commitment to childcare for all families, and not the piece-meal and unjust system put in place by this government.

More :: Childcare price rises are looming, parents warned (Irish Times)
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