September 30, 2015

MummyPages calls on the Government to introduce subsidises and over-arching cap on costs for private childcare in its Pre-Budget Submission 2016

A shocking 84% of working parents struggle to budget for their children’s childcare costs. To alleviate the childcare burden placed on working parents,, Ireland’s largest parenting community lodged its pre-budget submission on childcare to the Irish Government ahead of Budget 2016. MummyPages calls for the government to subsidise private childcare, early education services and after-school care for working parents which according to 83% of mums would greatly improve their family’s current childcare situation.

To ensure the recommendations made in MummyPages’ Pre-Budget Submission captures the concerns and meets the needs of its mum community, MummyPages surveyed over 2,533 mums to find out which proposed childcare initiatives would benefit them the most.

Here’s how Ireland’s mum community wants action:

All Children:
 89% of mums vote in favour of subsidy for 20-hours per week in early education services for all children aged from 2.5 to 5.5-years, regardless of whether their parents work

Working Parents:
 89% of mums call on the government to subsidise 40-hours per week in full-time private childcare for all children aged 6-months to 2.5-years with full-time working parents
 91% of mums call on the government to subsidise 20-hours per week in part-time private childcare for all children aged from 2.5 to 5.5-years with full-time working parents
 81% of mums favour a subsidy for 20-hours per week in after-school enrichment and care for all children aged from 4.5 to 12-years in primary education with full-time working parents

Direct Payment Subsidies:
 93% of mums feels the government should provide state subsidies directly to the childcare provider as per the current ECCE scheme model
 96% of mums support MummyPages proposal that the government should subsidise childcare and early education at:
o €5 per hour for two free pre-school years (introducing a second free pre-school year)
o €3 per hour for childcare before and after the free pre-school years
o Cap a maximum rate of €6.50 per hour on the amount a private childcare provider can charge a parent

Before & After-School Care:
 89% of mums believe the government should subsidise childcare for all children aged 4.5-years to 12-years during term-time holidays with full-time working parents
 72% of mums believe the government should also subsidise childcare for all children aged 4.5-years to 12-years during the summer holidays with full-time working parents
 96% of mums say the government need to invest in before and after-school enrichment and care facilities within existing school grounds for the private care similar to the prefab model proposed to solve the housing crisis

Mums lack confidence in the current government to solve the Childcare Crisis:

The new research by MummyPages, which acts as an accurate temperature gauge of what the ‘young family vote’ needs today to tackle the national childcare crisis, also focuses on mums’ outlook for 2016:

 98% of mums are fed-up with Irish government officials both past and present making empty promises to solve the childcare crisis.
 99% of mums think the issue of costly private childcare is used as a political tactic by governments when looking for votes
 83% of mums say the implementation of any of these proposed MummyPages initiatives will significantly improve their family’s current childcare situation
 Only 12% of mums were aware of the recently published government 10-year proposal to tackle the current childcare crisis in Ireland, as put forward by a specially tasked Inter-

Departmental Working Group and announced in July this year
 83% of mums say it is ‘unlikely’ that the CURRENT government will introduce any of the recent proposals made by the Inter-Departmental Working Group on Childcare in the forthcoming 2016 Finance Budget announcements
 61% of mums say it is ‘unlikely’ that the NEXT government will introduce any of the recent proposals made by the Inter-Departmental Working Group on Childcare
 20% of mums feel it is ‘unlikely’ that the 10-year Childcare strategy put forward to the current government will help to solve Ireland’s current childcare crisis , YET 91% say if implemented over 3-years it is ‘very likely’ to achieve its goal in solving our nation’s current childcare crisis

The main consensus from MummyPages’ research is that parents in Ireland are fed up with the government’s futile efforts to tackle the country’s childcare crisis – an issue that has been highlighted to each government year-on-year by the OECD. Worryingly, mums believe politicians use childcare as a ploy for votes in the run up to the general election with 61% of mums saying it is ‘unlikely’ the government will deliver on their promises.

According to Laura Haugh, Mum-in-Residence for, Ireland’s largest online parenting community:

“It’s no wonder parents in Ireland are losing faith in the governments’ effort to tackle the childcare crisis. Ireland has been experiencing a childcare crisis for almost two decades now yet there is still no real-time solution in sight. The proposals announcement by a government Inter-Departmental group this summer to solve Ireland’s childcare crisis over a 10-year period is viewed by many as just another pre-election tactic. Key recommendations from this proposal include extending parental leave, introducing a second free pre-school year, and a single subsidy childcare scheme for pre-school and school-going children – however the timeline for implementation is ludicrous. Our working parents need help now.”

“Middle income Ireland is caught in a perceived affordability trap, sandwiched between lower income families who benefit from community childcare places and higher income earners who can better afford to pay for childcare. We need a level playing field for all parents who wish to work full-time in order to support their families and contribute to the tax system. A direct payment subsidy and private childcare capped rate would go a long way to helping all those struggling to pay the childcare fees that are pushing them out of employment; our mums deserve the choice to work outside the home.”

“Our research has shown that 77% of mums would like to work but can’t afford to, all these families want is choice. If our European counterparts can successfully fund this through their comparable tax rates, then surely we can too, especially as it draws more people into funding the Exchequer, effectively paying for itself.”

Annual reports from the OECD highlights Ireland lack of investment in the childcare sector and support services. Current investment in this area in Ireland is less than 0.2% of GDP – this falls far short of the OECD average (0.8% GDP), and even further behind the UNICEF recommended benchmark of 1% GDP.