Parents throughout North Cork are set to save thousands of euro per year with a substantial reduction in childcare fees, which kicks in this week as Budget measures take effect.
Councillor John Paul O’Shea said “many parents have received notifications from creches outlining their revised fees from January, which is extremely positive at the present time”.
Councillor O’Shea added: “Fine Gael is determined to put more money back in people’s pockets with a focus on cutting childcare costs and helping childcare providers and workers.
“From today, childcare fees will drop by 25%, with an average €1,200 reduction in annual childcare costs for each child. I know of one parent who is set to save €400 per month on fees for his two children who are in creche full time.
“Government is doing this by almost trebling the subsidies provided through the National Childcare Scheme. The overall number of childcare places will be increased with an extra €59 million invested in our childcare providers.
“For parents in North Cork on the minimum subsidy this will mean up to €3,276 off their annual bill per child. With up to €1,170 currently available per annum, this represents up to an additional €2,106 off the annual cost of early learning and care and school aged childcare per child.
“Parents on the maximum subsidies, based on an income assessment and the age of the child, can already receive up to €11,934 off their annual fee.
“It will also mean that any family who is not already at the maximum hourly subsidy will see an increase in their subsidy. For those who have an award less than the maximum subsidy, the amount of the increase will taper down as they approach the maximum hourly subsidy,” Councillor O’Shea said.
“Parents in North Cork can be reassured the national childcare subsidy increases won’t be absorbed into fee increases, with a fee freeze on 2021 rates in place in over 90% of childminding facilities, which have signed up to the new core funding stream.
“A subsidy calculator is available at www.ncs.gov.ie, which will be updated so parents can check new subsidy rates.
“Core funding began in September and has given rise to increased capacity. The geographical breakdown across the country indicates expansion in urban and commuter areas where there has been significant pressure on places. Kildare, Wicklow, Meath as well as the four Dublin local authority areas, Galway, Cork City, Waterford, and Limerick which are all showing increases in capacity above national average figures.
“Last year, Fine Gael’s Policy Lab issued its Care of the Child Policy paper that called on Government to reduce the cost of childcare for parents. The policy lab process is a new way of creating policy and is clearly influencing Government policy and benefitting children and parents.
“Core to the thinking of the policy lab is the involvement of as many people as possible in order to gather diverse and stakeholder views. The policy lab met with parents, childcare professionals and childcare service providers and workers, all of whom had their say in the report’s recommendations.
“According to Fine Gael’s Policy Lab, there is clear evidence that the return on investment in early childhood care is substantial, and yields a greater dividend than at any other point in life.
“The changes that are coming into effect this week will make a real and meaningful difference to families across the country and is an extremely important step in making childcare more affordable and accessible,” Councillor O’Shea concluded.