Executive plans to boost affordable childcare
Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has welcomed a commitment by the Executive to produce a strategy aimed at increasing the level of affordable childcare here.
Ms. Anderson was speaking after the Executive outlined it's response to the recommendations of the Child Poverty Inquiry conducted by the committee of the Office of the first and Deputy first Minister (OFMDFM).
"The two Junior Ministers, Gerry Kelly and Jeffrey Donaldson, today provided the response to the recommendations of the inquiry," she commented.
"Their presentation contained a number of extremely positive interventions and targets which they now intend to take forward on a genuine cross-Departmental basis.
"One of the major issues which emerged during the inquiry was the problems around accessing affordable childcare here.
"It was something that came up time and time again and it is a very real barrier for people across the North in terms of getting back into employment or education.
"The end result of that is that families become increasingly trapped in a cycle of poverty from which there appears to be no escape.
"The two Ministers recognised that there is a major lack of affordable childcare here and they have committed themselves to a plan of action in order to address this issue.
"They have now tasked a ministerial sub-group to develop an Executive strategy to deal with this issue and to ensure that the necessary monitoring and funding mechanism can be put in place to ensure that it is effective.
"I expect to see that strategy in place as soon as possible and I believe it has the potential to make a massive difference to people's lives by giving parents the freedom to help themselves."