Monday , September 20 2021

Workers spend more than € 1,700 on childcare five years ago




Costs: Siobhan and Brian Redmond and their children Christopher (2) and Pearse (3 months). Photo: Caroline Quinn
Costs: Siobhan and Brian Redmond and their children Christopher (2) and Pearse (3 months). Photo: Caroline Quinn
Childcare costs grew faster in the capital. Stock Image

The average annual childcare cost of the family increased by more than 1,700 euros in Dublin over the last five years.

It also rose by € 770 a year outside the capital, according to official data.

New data from the Central Statistical Service (CSO) reveal the spiraling financial burden for parents working across the country from the crash as costs rose from the highest in Europe.

Figures compiled from the latest Household Budget Surveys reveal the extent to which childcare expenditure grew faster in the capital than the rest of the country.

On average, a Dublin household with children under the age of 14 spent 36% more than it was five years earlier by 2016.

Ms. Siobah Redmond told Independent.ie that she would soon pay more than her monthly mortgage for childcare for her two children.

Ms Redmond, from Killester, Dublin, believes that the government should further help families and the childcare industry to create a system that works well for everyone.

The 35-year-old economic practitioner is currently on maternity leave after the birth of Pearse's son, three months old.

In August of the following year, Pearse will participate in the two-and-a-half-year-old older Christopher brother in childcare when Ms Redmond returns to work.

"Full-time child care is € 850 for one," said Mrs Redmond.

"As far as we know, this will double the following year when Pearse goes to childcare.

"This is more than just our monthly mortgage payments, despite subsidies. It's a costly amount.

"Where my two children will be in childcare is cheap compared to friends who pay up to 1,300 euros a month in the southern part of Dublin.

"Such expenses put some parents away with a third child.

"The financial cost of caring for children is too high."

Ms. Redmond and her husband Brian, who runs Redmond Electrical in the East Wall of Dublin, have recognized that because of the cost of childcare, they have to cut spending.

However, Mrs Redmond believes that those working in childcare should be paid well for the "important job of taking care of the most precious people in our lives, our children."

Meanwhile, outside the capital, the owners have cut an extra 20pc.

Increased spending was likely to lead to higher childcare costs but may also reflect the fact that parents need more childcare as employment and working hours increased during the recovery.

A CSO spokesman said that the average size of families remained roughly the same – it is unlikely that they have pushed spending.

The average weekly expense was € 95.07 in Dublin from 2009 to 2010. However, during the survey in 2015 and 2016 it rose to € 129.37 – an increase of € 34.30 per week or € 1.783 per year.

Apart from Dublin, families who spent 74.21 euros a week in 2010 had increased their spending to 89.02 euros by 2016. They played an increase of 14.81 euros a week or 770 euros a year.

This meant that the average Dublin family was two years ago under a bill of € 6.727. Their spending was less than 5,000 euros a year five years earlier.

This compares with an average annual cost of 4,629 euros outside the capital until 2016, according to a comparison of budget surveys.

Figures include child care costs outside home and secondary care, but not with couples or with Montessoris.

In contrast to other CKAs showing higher average spending but covering only children up to 12 years old, household budget survey data includes expenditure for all children up to 14 years of age.

Child Minister Katherine Zappone and the representative body for 3,800 childcare providers, Early Childhood Ireland, accuse decades of insufficient investment from successive governments for high childcare costs.

However, a spokesman for the department said since the last AKR budget survey, investment increased by 117 points.

"The measures introduced by Minister Zappone last year benefited the families of more than 80,000 children and that number continues to increase," he said.

"Aid for families in need of support has increased by 50pc in value."

He said that next year he will see the development of a new accessible childcare system.

The thresholds for this new system have increased in the 2019 budget and will benefit families with a gross family income of up to EUR 100,000.

The minister will inform the cabinet in the coming weeks about the work being done to deliver "one of the most important start-ups undertaken by the state for decades," said the spokesman. "A recent OECD report predicted that the introduction of the project will move Ireland from one of the world's most expensive childcare systems, close to the top 10 most economical for single parents." |

Ireland's former childhood policy and defense counselor Frances Byrne said the big gap in childcare costs in Dublin and abroad was below much higher building costs, leases, expense and commercial interest rates.

"Because of the lack of investment for many years, wages are low and contracts are often part-time," he said.

"The result is that skilled professionals are leaving the industry.

"Despite the increased investments over the past two years under the leadership of Zappone Minister, childcare providers continue to struggle to recruit and retain skilled and experienced low-income educators as an important factor."

Mrs Byrne added that data from the OECD show that we are investing only 0.2pc of GDP in primary care and education each year.

"This is the lowest amount of any EU country," he said.

A CSO spokesperson said the figures give a good indication of spending habits, but a few methodological changes have been made since the 2009/10 survey.

Irish Independent


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