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Ireland
Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Childcare costs amount to second mortgage for most parents – Varadkar

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has stated that childcare costs to most parents are like a second mortgage while adding that they can also pose as a barrier for some parents who are seeking to return to work.

Varadkar has confirmed that the issue was being examined ahead of Tuesday’s announcement, which is the strongest signal yet that Budget 2022 could include measures to help families with the cost of childcare.

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Although no measures in relation to helping with childcare costs were introduced in last year’s budget, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman stated that he hopes to make changes to the National Childcare Scheme next year.

Currently, the scheme offers universal subsidies of up to €22.50 per week or higher, means-tested supports for families on lower incomes.

Changes to the scheme, which are understood to be under examination, have been pushed by coalition TDs for this year’s Budget.

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It’s also understood by The Irish Times that low pay issues for staff in the sector and the sustainability of childcare providers’ businesses are being examined.

The Tánaiste could not confirm what would or would not be included in the budget at this stage, stating that “there are still some decisions being made”.

He added, “One of the things, of course, we are going to examine in the context of the budget is the cost of childcare.”

Varadkar said that the situation in relation to childcare costs is still the case for many people, “childcare is like paying two mortgages or like having to pay the rent twice every week.”

In regards to childcare costs being a barrier for parents seeking to return to the workplace, Varadkar stated, “We have a skills shortage across the economy and many women, particularly women but not exclusively women, can’t get back into the workplace because of the cost of childcare so it is something that the government will address in the years ahead,”.

IMAGE – PA Images

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