Parents in Laois and Offaly will potentially save thousands on the cost of childcare thanks to increased subsidies that kick in from today (Weds, Jan 3).
The reduction was made possible after my Green Party Colleague, Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, secured funding in Budget 2023 to increase the minimum subsidy for registered early learning and childcare from €0.50 per hour to €1.40.
The change means that families that were previously in receipt of the lowest level of financial support will now be in line to save an additional €2,106 off their annual childcare bill.
This is a major development for childcare in Ireland and will represent a significant saving for parents who often say that paying for childcare is like paying a second mortgage or rent.
Having secured a freeze in childcare fees last year, Minister Roderic O’Gorman has gone a step further and cut them by an average of 25% this year and is aiming to secure a similar cut next year. This will go a long way towards making the cost of childcare in Ireland more manageable for the first time ever.
The increased subsidies for parents have gone hand-in-hand with greater funding for childcare providers in recent years as well as an improvement in pay and conditions for childcare workers. These have encouraged providers to increase capacity while also encouraging staff to stay in the sector.
Childcare was neglected for too long in Ireland with the result that parents were faced with enormous costs after having children. No-one should be financially penalised for having children but this is changing rapidly thanks to the Green Party being in government.
Parents can find out more about the increased subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme by visiting ncs.gov.ie or calling the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 or talking to their early learning and childcare provider.