Budget 2023: Childcare measures hailed as breakthrough for women’s equality
Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2022
The National Women’s Council (NWC) today welcomed many positives in Budget 2023, including structural investment in childcare to reduce childcare costs, women’s health and the cost of education. Investments in essential public services help to reduce costs and are essential for resilient and sustainable societies.
NWC also welcomed the once off payments which will support women and families through this cost of living crisis. However, we are concerned that an over reliance on once off payments will not protect women from poverty and income inequality in the long term.
Regarding the announcement on childcare, NWC Director Orla O’Connor said:
“This is a significant breakthrough for women, setting us on a clear path to achieve public childcare. For the first time parents will have their costs reduced. This Budget will be the largest investment to tackle affordability for parents.”
A lack of affordable childcare is the single biggest barrier to women’s equality in the workplace. It is important to note that, because fees are already so high, even an investment as significant as today’s will leave many parents paying extraordinarily high fees. We are now calling for ongoing investment in the next two budgets, as part of a pathway to a public model of childcare which would be affordable for all."
Orla O’Connor continued:
“NWC and our members have long campaigned to make childcare affordable and of high quality and Budget 2023 has finally delivered the most significant investment for parents and children. These measures will advance equality for women in Ireland who have been most affected by the childcare crisis. We must now ensure that this investment continues in future Budgets so that parents in Ireland can receive the same supports that parents in most EU countries have come to expect.”
NWC had called for an increase of €20 social welfare payments, including pensions, just to keep up with inflation. In this context, while a €12 increase is welcome, it will not be enough. And while one-off payments will help people through this winter, they will not protect people from poverty long-term.
NWC’s Women’s Economic Equality Coordinator Sandra McCullagh said:
“Some of the announced lump sum payments will be crucial to alleviate the cost of living crisis for many this year, including the additional Fuel Allowance payments. However, many women are not eligible for fuel allowance. For example, lone parents on Working Family Payment are not eligible nor are those in receipt of Carers Allowance. What is missing in Budget 2023 is a clear pathway to address income adequacy in the long term and the already high levels of poverty experienced by many women, such as lone parents, disabled women and Traveller women.”
Please note, NWC has issued a separate press release on the health budget
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator, NWC 085 8619087 or Silke Paasche, NWC Head of Communications, NWC, Tel. 085 858 9104.