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09 Dec 2021

Ferguson: Strategy needs to be put in place to help parents with childcare costs

Ferguson: Strategy needs to be put in place to help parents with childcare costs

Ciara Ferguson: "With the rising cost of living placing additional pressures on many household budgets it is more difficult for working parents to meet their childcare needs."

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Ciara Ferguson, has said the Childcare Strategy needs to be delivered to provide support for children and their parents.

A North of Ireland-wide survey carried out by Employers For Childcare, found that one in three providers of childcare in the six counties are planning to put up their prices.

The survey found that a number of childcare providers were facing immediate risk of closure while a quarter of families surveyed said they in turn were struggling to meet the costs of finding and paying for childcare.

At the moment, the current average cost of childcare in the North is £170 a week – 34 per cent of the average weekly household income.

Ms Ferguson stated that if that figure is to rise, then a strategy must be put in place to help parents afford the cost of childcare.

She said: “The Childcare Strategy must be delivered to support both children and their parents

“A survey carried out by Employers for Childcare published this week, provides findings that can help shape the strategy.

“We welcome their input and the input of all providers and users of childcare services.

“The pandemic has presented huge challenges to childcare providers and further highlighted many difficulties faced.

“With the rising cost of living placing additional pressures on many household budgets it is more difficult for working parents to meet their childcare needs.

“Any strategy must engage with these issues while recognising the role early years intervention can play in addressing disadvantage.”

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