Sinn Féin Alternative Budget proposals would tackle rocketing childcare costs – Kathleen Funchion TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Kathleen Funchion TD has said her party’s Alternative Budget proposals would "tackle rocketing childcare costs" and "address pay and working conditions of all those in the Childcare & Early Years sector".
Teachta Funchion was speaking following the Department of Children & Youth Affairs releasing figures on the crippling cost of childcare, which in some parts of the state is amounting to €1000 per month.
The Carlow/Kilkenny TD said:
“The figures released today by the Minister for Children show the huge financial burden childcare costs are putting on parents.
“In our upcoming Alternative Budget which will be published in full on Tuesday 1st October, we will outline our proposals which aim to reduce fees across the state.
“Sinn Féin would reform the childcare system to reduce fees for all parents while investing significantly to improve pay and job security of all staff at all levels.
“Our Alternative Budget proposals would see fees reduced for parents in the first year by 13%. This would amount to a cut on average of 100 euros per month on a monthly crèche fee of €800. This would be done through direct financial support for all centre-based providers that choose to opt in to a new childcare system.
“We also would also ensure that no parent in a targeted scheme, who is currently subsidised at an optimum rate, would pay more than they currently do, thereby protecting lone parents for example.
“We would introduce a proper pay scale for all staff in the sector regardless of level starting with the current Living Wage of €12.30 upon entry level.
“This Government is pushing for higher qualified staff with a minimum of Fetac Level 6, but the funding to assist people is not being provided. On top of low wages, staff are expected to pay for their own training to upskill outside of work hours at their own expense.
“We want to end the spiralling costs of childcare while at the same time as create an Early Years sector that values and pays staff accordingly.
“We want to improve quality where delivery of services is found lacking, and we want to ensure that smaller or community crèches that provide critical care to vulnerable children are never forced to close their doors or cut their services.
“All this requires radical change and we believe our proposals would make significant moves towards that end.”