Ms Forsythe said,
“I have written to the Chancellor to call for an urgent extension of the Government contribution to the Tax Free Childcare scheme.
We have campaigned on this issue in both Stormont and Westminster. It was disappointing not to see my call for this reflected in the budget statement this year.
Working families are struggling. Entering the summer months when childcare is the most expensive in the current economic climate is forcing many parents out of the workforce.
A childcare strategy for Northern Ireland is needed and all Parties here agree on this. Costing for the various options are being worked on by DE and not expected to be finalised until the autumn. Following this, significant investment will be needed to fully implement.
The strategy is needed but will take time and money. Working parents are struggling now. They need support to remain in the workplace.
An adjustment to Tax Free Childcare would make significant impact immediately. The return on investment in increasing childcare contribution for working families would be worth it. Money put in would be securing employment and long-term benefits to the economy. Keeping parents in employment in both private sector and public services is critical right across the United Kingdom. In Northern Ireland the impact would be even more significant where our childcare costs are particularly high.”