Childcare: Affordability is Not Enough

There’s been some controversy about the Government’s new “More Affordable Childcare Scheme”. Commentators have pitched parents against providers while ignoring the fundamental challenges facing the sector.

But after years of underinvestment by Government, blaming providers for high fees is just wrong.

Affordability Alone Is Not Enough

When it comes to the early years sector, there are things that everyone can agree on; parents are paying too much, educators are paid too little and providers are struggling to break even. Everyone is getting a raw deal.

This week the Government launched the “More Affordable Childcare Scheme” to address one of these issues: affordability for parents.

The €120 million in additional funding secured by Minister Zappone in Budget 2017, and the drive to address affordability is welcome; but addressing affordability alone is not enough.

The ‘More Affordable Childcare Scheme’ does not make providers sustainable, improve quality for children or raise the wages for educators.

We need a long term vision.

In our pre budget submission, SIPTU called for public investment in Early Years to be raised to at least 1% of GDP.

But increasing funding alone will not solve the problems we face. We have to ensure that public money is spent effectively and addresses quality early years for children, affordability for parents, sustainability for providers and pay for educators.

It is unclear if the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme is the long term solution the sector needs. However it is clear that unless it addresses providers’ sustainability and educators’ pay, the scheme doomed to failure.

We need a long term vision for the Early Years sector.

This is why SIPTU is working with a range of other stakeholders and campaigning for an Early Years sector that works for everyone; children, educators, providers and parents.

By building a strong campaigning union, we can make sure your voice is heard when the big decision are being made.

To find out more, simply email bigstart@siptu.ie or call 01 858 6365.

Sign the Big Start petition at BigStart.ie/Petition