19 Aug 2022

Roderic O’Gorman vows to ‘substantially cut’ childcare costs

Roderic O’Gorman vows to ‘substantially cut’ childcare costs

The Children’s Minister has vowed to “substantially cut” the cost of childcare for all parents in the upcoming Budget.

Roderic O’Gorman said parents will see the benefit of frozen childcare fees and the investment in the National Childcare Scheme (NCS).

Mr O’Gorman said there is a “very significant pressure” on childcare professionals across Ireland.

He said there is a transition fund to bridge the gap between the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme funding and the new 221 million euro state funding scheme that will take effect from September.

The majority of childcare fees are set to remain at rates that were in place in September last year.

“There are three big challenges in childcare right now. The low rates of pay for staff, the sustainability of providers and the high childcare costs the parents have to pay,” Mr O’Gorman said.

“As minister over the last budget and this Budget, I’m working to significantly address all three elements.

“Core funding was introduced in last year’s budget, 221 million in a full year.

“That’s to give providers sustainability, help them meet overheads, help them meet costs, but most importantly, help them meet the costs of paying their staff better.

“That’s linked to that employment regulation order that’s been negotiated right now between the unions and employers, that’s going to give us, for the first time, a rate of pay over the living wage of 13 euro per hour as an entry rate.

“It’s also going to give higher rates for childcare professionals with graduates’ qualifications, room leaders, deputy managers.

“Core funding is going to kick in from this September. We’re hoping to see the employment regulation order negotiated and agreed in the next number of weeks.

“The funding will allow them to pay their staff.”

He said there is a huge amount of work that will be done over two budgetary cycles.

“In this year’s budget, the focus is going to be on cutting costs for parents, looking at investing in the NCS. That’s the direct subsidy that parents get that reduces the amount that they have to pay,” he added.

“We will be looking to substantially cut the cost of childcare for all parents in Budget 2023.

“We’ll be able to better do that because we now have the fee freeze in place. And again, that was linked to the core funding. We said to providers we will give you this very substantial increase in funding, but you have to agree not to increase your fees.

“So with the fee freeze, when we give this investment in the NCS, parents will actually see the benefit of that, it won’t be eroded away by providers increasing their fees.”

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