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Varadkar: 'Childcare tax breaks for parents not being ruled out'

The health minister said that it would be an election issue.

Image: Screengrab/RTE

THE MINISTER FOR Health Leo Varadkar has said the cost of childcare will be an election issue.

Speaking on RTE’s Claire Byrne Live, he said that the government “would not rule out” tax breaks for parents, but said there would have to be caution exercised around any new initiative.

He said that government have made improvements by reversing cuts to child benefit, stating that parents get 50% more than they do in Northern Ireland and the UK.

The health minister admitted that it was a “very small step in the right direction”.

Varadkar said there is a trend in Ireland to make direct payments to families, rather than services, but this could perhaps be looked at.

We would have to be careful with that.

Often it can be the case where tax breaks are introduced it is the providers that end up seeing the benefits rather than the families, he said.

The minister said he is concerned tax breaks could drive costs up and “might not produce the results that you want”.

He said he was also wary that it would only benefit those parents that pay income tax and could be “socially unjust”.

Varadkar said an interdepartmental group will be reporting on the issue before the summer.

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