Laois TD and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, has said that in Budget 2017 Fine Gael has ensured that childcare is made more affordable for hard pressed families in his constituency.
‘This is a budget for families – young and old. The childcare package is a signature element of this. In Budget 2017 Fine Gael is taking another step forward in supporting Laois parents back into work or education, by designing more accessible and affordable childcare. The new scheme will be both universal and targeted in its approach.
Speaking after today’s Budget, Minister Flanagan stated:
“I know that affordable and quality childcare is on the mind of every parent in Laois, either in work or considering the cost of going back to work. Today, we are announcing measures that will help those families in a real and practical way. Starting next September, we are introducing a robust new scheme that is fair and built on the principles of equality of opportunity, enterprise and reward.
“I am particularly delighted to see Fine Gael’s election proposal for universal childcare support for parents of children aged 6 months to 3 years being implemented in this Budget. It bridges that gap between a return to work after maternity leave and the start of the Free Pre School Years. This payment will go directly to the registered childcare provider, whether that is a crèche or a registered childminder, in line with international best practice. It will provide support to parents in County Laois whose child is in fulltime childcare, to the value of €960 per year.
‘In Budget 2017 there is also increased support for parents in County Laois who choose to stay at home and care for their children. The Homecarer’s Tax Credit is being increased by 10%, from €1,000 to €1,100.
“The Early Years are a priority for Fine Gael in supporting young children, but also their parents juggling so many different things. Fine Gael is using the benefits of a strong economy to improve people’s lives here in Laois and across the country. This affordable childcare scheme builds on significant measures which Fine Gael has recently introduced, including:
- a second free pre-school year (saving parents on average €4,000 per child)
- two weeks paid Paternity Leave for new fathers
- free GP care for under 6s.
Concluding Minister Flanagan stated:
“We cannot achieve all we want to in one year, but we are using the benefits of a strong economy to improve people’s lives and make childcare more affordable for hard pressed families here in Laois and across the country,” concluded the Minister