Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte has criticised Minister Katherine Zappone’s new childcare subsidy describing it as “grossly unfair”.  The scheme will see low and middle income families receiving the exact same subsidy for their childcare as families on very high incomes.

Deputy Rabbitte said, “It’s bizarre that Minister Zappone has designed the scheme so that a couple who each earn just €29,000 will get the same childcare subsidy as a couple with a joint income of €250,000.

“How is this fair?

“The Government plan is deeply unequitable – households earning below €47,500 net income receive a higher ‘targeted’ subsidy, while families earning above this threshold will receive a much lower ‘universal’ subsidy, regardless of their income.

“This is not income progressive and is grossly unfair for families earning just above the €47,500 income threshold, who are ineligible for the so-called ‘’targeted childcare subsidy’’.

“Not only is the scheme unequitable, it could in fact drive up childcare costs as there is nothing contained in it to prevent crèches from hiking up their fees.   At the moment, there are around 80,000 children under the age of 5 who are cared for by childminders, who are not eligible for payment under this subsidy. This will create huge new demand for new childcare places, which will undoubtedly create upward price inflation for childcare places”.