Minister for Children reviewing two childcare schemes
Fianna Fáil calls for tax breaks to lower costs for families
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said review would focus on how best to structure childcare support so as to support low-income working families. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald told the Dáil she was reviewing two childcare schemes costing a total of €70 million this year.
She said the schemes, which subsidised childcare places, were the Community Childcare Subvention and the Childcare Education and Training Support. The review, she added, would focus on how best to structure childcare support so as to both support low-income working families and to incentivise labour market activation which would be eventually expanded to include more families as resources allowed.
“The State has invested heavily in the capital development of Ireland’s preschool and childcare services and it is important that we sustain this infrastructure to meet the needs of children and their parents,” Ms Fitzgerald added.
The Minister was replying to a Fianna Fáil private member’s motion calling for a reduction in the cost of childcare through the introduction of new tax breaks for working families.
Party spokesman on children Robert Troy said there were more than 400,000 households with children under the age of 10 years. He said there was scope for the payment made through the Family Income Supplement (FIS) to address childcare costs, as well as the provision of a tax break for families with an income marginally above the FIS limits.
Sinn Féin spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the recent Indecon report commissioned by Donegal Childcare Committee had offered a significant insight into the economic and social impact of policy decisions. The annual cost of €16,500 for full-time childcare placed Ireland second highest among all OECD member countries.