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Minister sowing confusion on Affordable Childcare Scheme

10 October 2018

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs

Labour Children spokesperson Séan Sherlock has criticised the failure of the Minister for Children to clearly outline to parents what the changes in Budget 2019 on Affordable Childcare Scheme will mean.

There is no one-stop-shop or information source available where parents can find out what they are entitled to under the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

Deputy Sherlock said:

"The extra €61 million to support parents (not €89m as announced yesterday) through the Affordable Childcare Scheme is welcome but won't come into play until late 2019 so parents will continue to shoulder the growing cost of childcare for the next year to come.

"The information shared by the Minister for Children today on her budget increases provides some case studies. These are based on net income with some examples of possible gross pre tax incomes.

"There is no clear information on who gets what, and for what reasons. Parents will be at a loss to figure out what changes have actually been implemented. Where are the eligiblity guidelines or criteria?

"No other Minister would get away with announcing such changes without clear guidelines and information on who is eligible, and for what subsidy. The Minister should clearly outline the eligibility criteria for each band, the subsidy available, and how a parent's net income will be calculated.

"We won't get that information until the Affordable Childcare Scheme is actually launched and the regulations published under the Act, and we still don't know the date for that. There will be an IT system to determine a parent's eligibility but again we don't know when this will happen.

"The measures as announced also do little for those parents who are both working in full time jobs, with children in childcare. The Minister has left behind an information vacuum that she should address immediately."