Minister fails to deliver for parents and childcare professionals – Kathleen Funchion TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Childcare Kathleen Funchion TD has stated that Minister Katherine Zappone has failed to deliver for parents and childcare professionals in Budget 2017.
Deputy Funchion added that "those who struggled to pay childcare costs before Budget 2017 will continue to struggle after Budget 2017."
The Carlow Kilkenny TD said;
"The only ‘new’ money allocated towards the early years sector is €35.5 million. This is a tiny amount in the context of what is needed to truly address the issues of which the Minister is well aware.
"There is a commitment to subsidising childcare for the under 3s through a new Affordable Childcare Scheme. However, this only affects those on a combined household income of €47,500, or €23,000 per parent.
"The Minister announced that there will be a ‘universal’ subsidy for all other parents on higher incomes that would amount to approximately 50cents per hour – or approximately 80 euros less per month overall. How will that help the affordability crisis for struggling working parents who have to fork out between 800 and 1200 euros per month per child? Where is the support, particularly for women who need to provide for their families and want or need to return to the workforce after maternity leave is up? It’s a joke to be frank. The bottom line is that those who struggled to pay childcare costs before Budget 2017 will continue to struggle after Budget 2017.
"Furthermore, as Early Childhood Ireland have correctly pointed out, the figure used for the Minister’s new childcare subsidy is still based on early childhood staff earning below living wage and going on the dole over the summer.
"There was no focus on the sustainability of the sector via improvement of childcare professional working conditions or pay - the very people who are the backbone of the sector have been left out completely of Budget 2017.
"The logic behind these decisions is extremely questionable and I intend to put these questions to Minister Zappone in the coming days."