People Before Profit Condemns Government Inaction Over Childcare Costs
Childcare in Ireland is the most expensive in Europe, and worldwide second only to the USA, according to recent research from the OECD.
The government here spends just 0.2% of GDP in the development of children up to the age of 6, compared to an OECD average of 0.7%.
This means that typically already hard-pushed parents in Ireland pay 40% of the average wage in childcare costs, while in other OECD countries this falls to 12% thanks to government subsidies.
Another consequence is that childcare workers here are underpaid and overworked, with up to 25,000 people working in the sector on an average of less than €11 an hour – less than the minimum wage, according to figures from the Association of Childhood Professionals.
ESRI has recently warned that the high cost of childcare in this country is a major factor contributing to the large number of jobless households throughout the country.
Yet in spite of the official acknowledgement of the need for greater investment as far back as 2000 when the National Childhood Strategy was published, funding for childcare still needs to be increased fivefold if it’s to meet the standard of services to which successive governments have claimed they aspire.
This government’s cutbacks have hit the poorest the hardest.
People Before Profit calls for immediate investment in childcare services to help ordinary families already struggling under the unfair burden of austerity.