McGrath says Executive Must Address Childcare Costs

Childcare costs in North is a huge issue for Stormont says McGrath

The SDLP’s Colin McGrath MLA has said the increasing costs of child-care in the North are proving too much for parents to meet and called on the Executive to properly fund a strategy to address this.

Commenting, the South Down MLA has said: “There is a terrible myth that has been promoted by some, that the cost of child-care in the North is the lowest across the UK. 

“Parents here will know that is categorically untrue and this has been tried and proven to be untrue. 

South Down MLA Colin McGrath has expressed his concerns at the Assembly not dealing with urgent childcare costs and issues.

“What is frightening is that we have report after report from stakeholder groups such as Melted Parents who are telling us what is needed to address our childcare crisis.

“And we have multiple political parties who vowed to make child-care a priority in a returning Assembly. 

“Yet here we are two months later with absolutely no action on getting to grips with the issue.

“Yes, it was welcome that Sinn Féin brought forward a motion to the Assembly on childcare but it had absolutely no impact, or binding effect to compel Ministers to act. 

“Now, we have a Finance Minister bringing forward a budget that is once again a single year budget, as opposed to the multi year budget which every single sector of society is saying we need.

“I have written again to the Finance Minister on this important point.”

Colin McGrath added: “As if this wasn’t bad enough, from September 2024, families in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to extend their 30-hours free child-care provision to children between 9 months and 5 years old.

“The North is left behind again, and families here continue to pay in excess of £10,000 per year on average for one child.

“I genuinely cannot comprehend why our Executive is continuing to fail our working families as they are, and why they continue to gaslight them with false promises of action, and then deliver nothing for them. 

“Families across South Down and the North deserve better than this.”