ELECTION 2020: Lack of affordable childcare ‘forcing parents to choose between work and children’ – Waterford Mayor
The lack of affordable childcare is forcing many parents to choose between work and their children, Waterford Mayor and Labour General Election candidate John Pratt said today.
Cllr Pratt launched a scathing attack on the failure of the outgoing government to tackle rocketing childcare costs in Ireland, which are among the highest in Europe.
The Waterford Labour election candidate said: “The lack of an affordable-high quality childcare scheme is forcing many parents to choose between work and their children. There is also a shortage of childcare places in many parts of the country, while childcare workers are not being paid enough and falling below the Living Wage. It is very clear that the current childcare model is not working.”
Cllr Pratt was speaking as the Labour Party published its proposals for a public childcare scheme for working parents.
The plan includes measures to improve pay for workers in the sector, increased oversight and proposals to reduce costs for childcare providers.
The Mayor said: “This scheme is the first step towards Labour’s vision of a universal public childcare service for all parents, which ultimately will replace other existing schemes and subsidies. It’s time to give working families a break when it comes to childcare and not make it a choice between work and their children.”
Cllr Pratt said childcare costs are now “one of the most financially draining aspects” for working parents.
He added: “Despite four years of promises from the outgoing Government, childcare costs still remain hugely expensive, and there is a major shortage of places impacting on parents.
“Currently, parents are paying three times the average EU cost. The decision by Fianna Fáil to provide a tax credit will do little to benefit the sector as it won’t address increasing costs and will reward those who earn most, rather than make the service more affordable.”