Childcare sector reacts to Budget 2024
Childhood Services Ireland, the Ibec trade association for childcare providers, has today cautiously welcomed aspects of the Budget but said that more needs to be done to support childcare services.
Childhood Services Ireland have been calling on the Government to address affordability for parents, sustainability for providers, as well as stimulate growth of the sector to address supply issues.
Commenting on this, Childhood Services Ireland’s Director, Darragh Whelan, said; “significantly increasing childcare subsidies is a good start and something we called for in our Pre-Budget Submission, but there is a long way to go for the childcare sector. Childcare is still unaffordable for many families which is impacting their opportunities to enter employment”.
“With a freeze on childcare fees in place, services are unable to offset any inflationary cost pressures, and many are really struggling in the current climate. The best way to cover costs is by improving Core Funding but if funding from the Budget does not go far enough, childcare services may have to pass cost on to parents which is wholly undesirable. One of the biggest issues is availability of childcare places and without State investment it is very difficult for services to open up more places for children. A programme of capital funding is crucial to stimulate growth of the sector and open more childcare places to keep up with parental demand”.
Childhood Services Ireland is the Ibec trade association representing the childcare sector. In their pre-Budget submission they recommended an increase to the National Childcare Scheme universal subsidies to €2 per hour, increasing the targeted subsidy threshold to a household income of €80,000, as well a significant increase to Core Funding and a capital funding programme that stimulates the creation of childcare places, particularly for the under 3s.