Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, Lorraine Clifford-Lee has said that many families are excluded from the new Affordable Childcare Scheme due to the type of income taken into account under current criteria.

The Fingal based Senator raised the matter directly with the Minister during this morning’s Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs.

“A lot of families are living in rented accommodation while leasing their former family home which is no longer suitable for their expanded family’s needs and has entered negative equity. These families derive no financial benefit from their own rental property and depending on their personal circumstance, they may in fact become worse off,” explained the Senator.

“The families that have rented out a former family home which has now fallen into negative equity and are therefore unable to sell, are the very families most affected by the existing criteria under the scheme.

“Provided that many of these families are struggling to make ends meet, they are in need of childcare support. The rising cost of childcare continues to disproportionately affect the already squeezed middle.

“It is therefore critical that the scheme is amended to no longer take into account the rental income obtained from a home in negative equity. This would mean that families in this situation may receive a lower level of subsidy than their income level would have otherwise allowed for.

“Following my contribution at this morning’s Committee, Minister Zappone has committed to examining the important issue and I very much welcome the acceptance that this matter requires further attention. I look forward to working closely with Minister Zappone in the immediate weeks ahead to advance the scheme,” concluded Senator Clifford-Lee.