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budget 2024

A cut of twenty-five per cent in average creche costs announced for September 2024

Talks on the measure went down to the wire but a 25% cut to match last year’s has been confirmed.

A 25% AVERAGE reduction in the cost of childcare at creches and other facilities subsidised through the government’s National Childcare Scheme will be introduced in September 2024.

The increase in government subsidies to the sector, matching a similar measure introduced last year, will benefit the families of well over 100,000 children who are cared for in creches, after-school schemes and other facilities that receive government funding.

However, the measure will be introduced nine months later than the 2023 reduction in childcare costs, which kicked in last January.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe announced a €338 million increase in the core funding of the  Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on Tuesday.

He added that core funding to childcare facilities will “support providers, support workers and help maintain the fee freeze”.

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) subsidy is increasing from €1.40 per hour to €2.14 per hour from next September, which is an increase of 74c. Last year, increased it from 50c to €1.50, which was a 90c increase – therefore overall, the increase in the subsidy is less than what was implemented last year. 

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman defended the increase in subsidies not kicking in until September on Tuesday afternoon. 

In a budget announcement where many key details have already been known days in advance, talks on childcare went down to the wire.

In recent weeks, senior members of government had played down the likelihood of the full 25% reduction in childcare costs, the level that had previously been promised.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman is understood to have pushed hard for a 25% reduction in childcare costs to match last year’s.

In last year’s budget, the government reduced the cost of creche care by 25% through an increase in subidies under the National Childcare Scheme, a saving of up to €175 per month for families costing the exchequer €121 million. 

About 40% of children in the state who are in childcare are cared for in creches and similar facilities. 

A third of children under 15 in the state were in some form of childcare at last year’s census, with 42% in a creche or similar facility.

The census found that 56% of children aged four and under who were in childcare were in a creche, playgroup, Montessori school or similar facility.

Sixteen per cent of all children in childcare were cared for in a childminder’s home and six per cent by a childminder in their own home. Paid and unpaid family members accounted for the remainder.

Other measures to support families with children were also announced on Tuesday including a double payment of the €140 child benefit payment. This will be paid before Christmas, as will a double payment of the foster care allowance.

With reporting by Eimer McAuley.

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