Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte says the Government’s latest childcare plan will do little to deliver for middle income families.  An ICT system, which is crucial to determine the level of subsidy entitlement for each family, is still in development, and this delay will result in parents having to wait longer for their payments to kick in.

Deputy Rabbitte explained, “In an effort to score political points, Minister Zappone rushed the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme, and we are now left with a system that is scrambling to meet even its most basic requirements.

“The Single Affordable Childcare scheme was designed around an ICT system, which would determine the level of subsidy each family would be entitled to.  However, with just 5 months to go until the scheme opens, we are now learning that this ICT infrastructure will not be ready and that the Department will be using a new form of the Childcare Subvention Scheme to deliver the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme.

“As a result of this change, it now appears that there will be considerable cuts to the levels of subsidy provided to middle income earners.  This is an extremely frustrating and worrying development.

“Under this new scheme, families which qualify for GP visit cards, but not medical cards, will be left on a weekly subsidy of €50.  This is a far cry from what was promised and considering that it can cost up to €200 per week for a childcare place in Dublin, this payment will do little to ease the burden on hard pressed parents.

“Today’s announcement is a serious blow to middle income households, and is a complete row back on Minister Zappone’s previous promise to provide a subsidy for 40 hours of childcare a week to families, to alleviate the high cost of childcare”.