Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte TD has stressed the need for increased supports to be extended to middle-income families in advance of this year’s budget.

She said, “Childcare costs remain a huge issue for middle-income families around the country, and they are simply preventing many women, in particular, from entering the workforce.

“Last Budget, this Government made a big song and dance out of launching the Single Affordable Childcare scheme, but if anything this scheme is having a negative impact on middle-income families, many of whom are receiving a subsidy that is less than the price increases we are seeing in crèches around the country.

“Ahead of this year’s budget, I am calling on the Government to direct resources to middle-income families, who might earn €65,000 between them.

“Under the current scheme, they would likely qualify for a subsidy of €20 per week, meaning that they would have to spend up to €180 per week themselves on childcare. That’s about 14% of their gross salary, before we even talk about rent or mortgage costs.

The Galway East TD concluded, “In a modern republic, where everyone is supposed to enjoy equal opportunities and access, the current situation is completely unacceptable, and Fianna Fáil will be pressing this Government to introduce progressive measures to address it”.