Budget 2018 does nothing to tackle rising childcare fees – Denise Mitchell TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Denise Mitchell, told the Dáil that high childcare fees will continue unless the Government makes serious investment in the sector.
Criticising the Budget, Deputy Mitchell said:
“When it comes to childcare, I’m really quite surprised that we didn’t see more action from the Government in this Budget. Parents will still be paying very high childcare fees in 2018.
“On top of this, highly-qualified and skilled staff in the childcare sector will still be on very low wages. These are people you trust enough to leave your child or children with – a very important responsibility I think we’d all agree – yet in many cases they are being paid peanuts.
"Our childcare fees are the second-highest in Europe, yet creches and childcare providers are operating on very narrow margins.
"If we want high-quality and affordable childcare then we must invest in it. It is as simple as that."
Deputy Mitchell said she was disappointed the Government had not taken on board the Sinn Féin proposal for a €40.58million fund in anticipation of a much-needed sector-wide pay deal to increase wages for childcare workers by an average of €1 per-hour.
The party also proposed a €2 increase in the Universal Childcare Subsidy which would help towards significantly reducing fees for parents; as well as an increased recognition of non-contact time:
“I think the Government need to take a hard look at the situation on the ground in terms of health, housing and childcare. Instead of prioritising meagre tax cuts for people – which of course benefit the better-off most – we need to see serious investment in these areas.”