Childcare must be a priority in Autumn Statement

DUP South Down MLA Diane Forsythe has called for the Government to massively increase the Tax-Free Childcare allowance to help working parents.

By Diane Forsythe MLA

South Down

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Ms Forsythe was speaking after her and Education spokesperson Diane Dodds MLA met Department for Education officials about concerns within Northern Ireland’s childcare sector.

Speaking afterwards Ms Forsythe said,

“A gamechanging step the UK Government could take to help working families would be to massively increase the Tax-Free Childcare allowance beyond its current 20% contribution. This should be a priority next week in the Autumn Statement.

Whether people, mainly women, work in policing, education, healthcare or industry once there is more than one child in the house, serious discussions take place about the affordability of work.

It is essential that work pays and the failure of Treasury to see childcare as a limiting factor on being able to work has been a failure of successive governments.

Childcare governance falls between the Department of Health and Education in Northern Ireland but with a budget shortfall of half a billion this year, the seismic assistance needed in this sector is well beyond the firepower of a devolved Assembly.”

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