Sinn Féin wants to cut childcare costs by two-thirds across the board for all parents, although the party often criticizes the government’s untargeted policies.
The party previously criticized government policies that did not aim to help the poorest families, such as the universal €200 electricity credit.
In a Dáil motion on the cost of living in late June, the party’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty urged the government to focus on “targeted action”.
However, today the party will present general proposals for the state to heavily subsidize childcare for all families through an additional investment of 270 million euros over two years.
This would bring investment in childcare to more than €1 billion if one adds the €870 million investment already made by the government.
The 60 percent reduction in fees would come through a system in which the government would pick up the cost of staff wages from providers in exchange for providers cutting fees by two-thirds.
Sinn Féin says it would also introduce “decent salary scales” for the sector’s employees, aiming to bring back daycare operators who have left the industry in recent years over poor pay.
According to the party, this would lead to an increase in childcare places.
According to an example prepared by the party, a Dublin-based couple with a combined income of €65,000 a year and an 18-month-old child attending all-day crèche would save €6,639 a year.
Sinn Féin says this would be paid for by a 3 percent solidarity tax on people earning more than €140,000.
This measure alone would finance the reduction in childcare costs by 60 percent for the entire country, they say.
Despite the proposed cuts benefiting even the highest income earners, the party believes those on higher incomes would make a larger contribution through the solidarity surcharge, which would fund improvements to other public services.
The party would also invest €1 million in the Childcare Advisory Service and appoint 15 additional childcare workers across the country.
Sinn Féin’s Childcare Policy will be presented today by Party Chair Mary Lou McDonald along with TDs Kathleen Funchion and Pearse Doherty.
“Childcare fees in Ireland are among the highest in the EU,” Ms Funchion said.
“For many families, they mean another mortgage or rent every month.
“Many parents, especially women, are being pushed out of the workforce as they simply cannot afford to return to work because of these crippling costs.
“The government has failed to respond to these rising fees and they are at a crisis point.”
She added: “It’s time to act now to reduce childcare fees and ensure families get a much-needed break from these prohibitive costs.”
Senior government officials have already signaled that cutting childcare costs will be a big priority in September’s budget.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said these costs would be reduced “very significantly”.
Children’s Secretary Roderic O’Gorman is overseeing the proposals after last year he froze childcare fees and promised to increase funding in the National Childcare Scheme.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/sinn-fein-wants-to-reduce-cost-of-childcare-for-all-despite-attack-on-universal-measures-41819968.html Despite attack on universal measures, Sinn Féin wants to reduce childcare costs for everyone