Labour vows to slash the cost of childcare by up to two thirds

Proposed service to include early drop-off and late collection times

From left  Labour’s Cllr Juliet O’Connell, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Andrew Montague with parents Hannah Deasy and  Lorraine Mulligan at the launch of Labour’s childcare plan on Friday. Photograph: Alan Betson

From left Labour’s Cllr Juliet O’Connell, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Andrew Montague with parents Hannah Deasy and Lorraine Mulligan at the launch of Labour’s childcare plan on Friday. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Labour Party has proposed a public childcare scheme which will reduce costs for parents by up to two thirds.

The party has pledged to roll out a pilot scheme which will at first benefit 6,000 children and will be targeted initially at parents who cannot afford to work and pay for childcare costs.

The applications process will involve a parent declaring their income and showing two quotes from commercial providers.

Initially if the childcare cost is more than 30 per cent of the parent’s net income, they will be eligible for inclusion in the scheme.

A spouse’s income is not included which means the calculations will be based only on one parent’s income, the party said.

Labour has said that it will also ensure that childcare workers are paid the living wage.

“If we want a high-quality service with low turnaround (of staff) then we need to pay staff properly,” said Labour senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

The service will include early drop-off times and late collection in order to reflect modern work practices. The service would be delivered through a mix of pre-existing premises.

“For the first time the Irish State will provide childcare through this scheme,” said Mr Ó Ríordáin.

“The Irish system is, in the main, dependent on private providers which cost parents huge amounts of money every month.

“We are trying to introduce a system which would drive down the cost, provide good employment standards for those working in the sector and also excellent standards of care as well. It will benefit the children, benefit the workers and benefit the parents.

“It will be small to start off with 6,000 children benefiting but we would hope to roll it out further afterwards. This could be provided by a local school, local authority or existing childcare provider but the rates would be the European average,” he said.