Belfast Telegraph

Parents need childcare support

Editor's Viewpoint

The cost of living for many young couples is extremely high, and for those with children it is very worrying.

Recent figures reveal that the cost of providing full-time care for children is now a staggering £164 a week. Some young couples are fortunate that grandparents or other relatives can help by looking after the children for part of the time, and therefore help to reduce the childcare costs.

However, for those parents without help, the figures are so high that in many cases they are paying out more than the regular costs of their mortgage or rent.

In such a situation they are being forced to take out loans or to use their credit cards to meet their bills for childcare, and this further adds to their considerable worries in trying to make ends meet.

Places for children in nurseries are at a premium, so there is no doubt that they can fill their places, despite the high cost of doing so.

We should be supportive of young families who face such financial burdens, and we need much more state nursery provision to support working people.

The burden is obviously much greater for those on lower incomes, and some young parents are no doubt wondering if there is any point in going to work when their take-home salaries are swallowed up by the childcare costs they are required to pay.

It is important that children are cared for properly, and the presence of a parent is vital to the well-being of the young.

However, it is also laudable that parents respond to the challenge of the workplace in this way to make an important contribution to society.

In past decades this problem of finding a balance between home and the workplace did not arise in the same way.

However, we live in changed times, and many parents are forced to go out to work to help keep a roof over their heads.

This seems straightforward in theory, but in practice it becomes much more challenging when so much has to be diverted into the costs of childcare.

In all of this, the welfare of the child is the greatest priority, but their State must find a way to provide a more equitable and caring system to meet people's needs.

We also must play our part by supporting those parents who want the best for their children but also contribute to our workplace and to the economy at large.

Belfast Telegraph

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