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Failure to cap childcare costs eroding value of new scheme

1 September 2017

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs

Labour spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Sean Sherlock has said that the failure of the Government to implement a cap on childcare costs means that the value of the new universal subsidy is being eroded for parents. The Government was warned this would happen, and should have implemented a cap on costs for parents.

Deputy Sherlock said:

"To great fanfare the Government and Minister Zappone have introduced from today a new universal subsidy for childcare worth around €87 per month.

"However for a large number of parents, the value of this payment has already been eroded or lost completely due to price increases that appear to be concentrated in the areas of greater demand in cities and towns, where costs for parents are already higher.

"By failing to provide for a cap on childcare fees when introducing the new affordable childcare scheme this was inevitable.

"The Labour Party had proposed that there should be a cap on fees once a subsidy was introduced, alongside supports to crèches from the State to raise the income of workers in the sector to a living wage.

"For many parents, the extra subsidy will simply go towards meeting the increased fees many crèches have introduced. Needless to say this has caused great distress as families now cannot look forward to their anticipated savings on their childcare bill.

"The horse has bolted, but with price increases already in effect the Minister for Children is now belatedly calling for restraint and considering regulation or price caps.

"This is simply not good enough, and could have been avoided. Instead over the last month Fine Gael has been focused on a social media promotion campaign for a scheme that will now not even cover the increased costs many parents face from today."