Major childcare cost cuts if Labour returned to power - Burton

Vital to provide low-cost quality childcare for all under-12s, says Tánaiste

Tánaiste Joan Burton and Abi Boxshall (2), from Lucan, at the  launch of Standing Up For Families, Labour’s plan for quality and affordable childcare. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tánaiste Joan Burton and Abi Boxshall (2), from Lucan, at the launch of Standing Up For Families, Labour’s plan for quality and affordable childcare. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Tánaiste Joan Burton has pledged significant reductions in childcare costs if the Labour Party is returned to Government.

Launching the plan along with Waterford Deputy Ciara Conway and Kildare South Councillor Mark Wall, Ms Burton said it was vital to provide low-cost quality childcare for all under-12s.

Key elements of the Labour plan, called Standing Up For Families include:

• A cap on childcare costs for parents at €4.25 per hour, or €170 per week;

• A progressive increase in the State subsidy so the cost parents must pay is reduced to no more than €2 per hour by 2021;

• Increased paid parental leave by three months, to be shared between both parents;

• Transformation of the quality of early years care and education, with greater funding for providers with highly qualified staff;

• The provision of all staff working with children with one hour of paid time per week to plan their work.

‘More affordable’

“As the economy continues to recover, Labour wants to help more parents into work. To do that, we need to make childcare easily available and more affordable than it is now,” said the Tánaiste.

She said next year’s budget would provide a subsidy to service providers to cap childcare costs for parents at €4.25 per hour, or €170 per week, with further reductions to no more than €2 per hour by 2021.

“We will also continue to support existing schemes to support children of low-income families. We will take measures to plan and provide services in parts of the country where services are not good enough.

“We will provide an additional two weeks’ paternity leave and three months’ parental leave which can be shared between both parents. And we will take a series of steps - set out in our document - to support staff and improve quality,” she said.

Ms Burton said the aim was to provide children with seamless progression through childcare, pre-school and school.

“Our aim is to ensure that our children get the best possible care, the best possible education and the best possible opportunity to realise their potential in life.

“I’m very aware that the seeds of poverty and inequality are often sewn very early in life,” she said.