Parents are likely to see childcare costs decline by €200 per month next year and a further €200 per month the following year, after agreement was reached between Government parties ahead of the next budget.
As the Irish Examiner reports, a double payment of child benefit is also expected in the coming months.
Proposals from Minster for Children, Roderic O’Gorman to reduce childcare fees by 50 per cent over the next two budgets have “been accepted” and have been described as the “number one budget priority” aside from the cost-of-living package of once-off measures.
Three Cabinet ministers confirmed that the Coalition parties are agreed that reducing childcare costs will be a centrepiece of this month’s budget.
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have signed up to Mr O’Gorman’s proposals, with one minister saying: “It is now effectively the Government’s position.”
A recent survey revealed that, on average, parents pay out nearly €800 per month per child for childcare, though in many regions the cost is substantially higher.
Mr O’Gorman said a new deal for childcare workers bringing in minimum pay of €13 per hour will be signed off in the next few weeks.
Parents will also likely see a double month’s payment of the child benefit allowance under the Government’s plans to help families with the cost-of-living crisis.
A Government source said one “strong option” on the table is a one-off payment before Christmas, which will be a cost-of-living measure the Government has been signalling.
Child benefit is €140 a month for each child and is payable to the parents or guardians of children under 16 years of age. It is also paid to the parents or guardians of children aged under 18 if the child is in full-time education.
It is also understood that there could be a double payment of pensions and other welfare payments before the end of the year.