- Survey found that average cost of two children in full time childcare is £24, 696 – just £260 less than the average salary in NI
- Over 80% of those who responded said that cost of childcare is a key factor in decision to not have more children
- 83.4 % of parents said the cost of childcare has had an impact on their mental health
- 69.4% of parents said they will be or might leave the workplace or reduce their hours in the next 12 months due to childcare costs
- Some families have considered termination or have terminated pregnancies due to not being able to afford additional childcare bills
- Melted Parents are calling for politicians to commit to putting delivery of childcare strategy on agenda for first Executive meeting, with timeframe for delivery in first 100 days
Grassroots campaign group Melted Parents has called on the political parties in Northern Ireland to prioritise the delivery of a childcare strategy by an incoming Executive, urging them to agree to it being on the agenda from day one, as well as publishing a timeframe for delivery in the first 100 days of a new government.
The call was made as the group published survey results from parents which indicates that childcare in Northern Ireland is the most expensive in Europe.
The survey of almost 3000 parents in Northern Ireland found that the average annual cost for two children in full time childcare is £24,696, just £260 less than the average salary.
82.3% parents have said that cost of childcare has been a key factor in their decision to not have more children, with some respondents saying they have terminated pregnancies due to not being able to afford additional childcare bills.
Rebecca Harper of Melted Parents said that politicians need to prioritise the delivery of a childcare strategy in the next Executive from day one;
“Our survey results demonstrate the real cost of childcare on families in Northern Ireland. With what we believe is the the highest cost in Europe, many families are being pushed to breaking point. Our families are feeling the effects on their mental health, their relationships, their careers as well as their ability to even have children in the first place.
“A childcare strategy has supposedly been in development for the past decade, with a commitment in New Decade New Approach to the delivery of a strategy in 2020, but nothing has been delivered. This isn’t good enough and we demand action.
“Politicians often talk about economic growth, but this is meaningless without supporting a significant proportion of our workforce to be able to work in the first place.
“Today we are asking all political parties I Northern Ireland to prioritise the delivery of a childcare strategy by an incoming Executive, and are urging them to agree on it being on the agenda at the first Executive meeting, as well as publishing a timeframe for delivery in the first 100 days of a new government.
- Putting parents at the centre of designing a new childcare system that works for both parents and providers in Northern Ireland.
- That the Barnett consequential allocation resulting from the Chancellor’s budget announcement earlier this year on expanding childcare support for families in England be ring-fenced in Northern Ireland and spent in the spirit it was intended – on working families and most importantly, their children.
- The tax-free childcare cap is removed, and the rate to rise from 20 to 30%.
- Consider a cost-of-living style payment for working parents to support them during this time.
“Families cannot wait any longer, so we are calling on politicians to form an Executive and prioritise the delivery of a childcare strategy on day one and ensure that families are given the same support as others across the UK.”