21/01/2019

Stormont Deadlock Obstructing Early Childhood Development - Alliance

An Alliance MLA has said the ongoing political deadlock in Northern Ireland is severely hindering early childhood development in the region.

Chris Lyttle's comments come off the back of a major survey which showed that childcare bills are the largest or second largest monthly outgoing for two-thirds of parents.

Devolved government has not been functioning for over two years now, since the power-sharing assembly at Stormont collapsed in January 2017.

The Childcare Cost Survey Report by Employers for Childcare showed that after housing, the childcare bill continues to exceed groceries, heating, transport and other household costs. It added that enhanced and strategic investment in financial support for childcare is key to help provide quality provision.
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"It is by far the issue raised with me the most by my constituents," the east Belfast MLA said.

"Affordable, quality childcare is vital to the development of children, while simultaneously helping families access employment and training opportunities to obtain skills and contribute to our economy.
However, this report clearly outlines how much of a struggle achieving that childcare is for many families. There is a Childcare Strategy awaiting Ministerial sign-off, but due to the collapse of power-sharing, it is simply gathering dust instead of helping those who need it.

"Those parties blocking the restoration of the Assembly are hampering early childhood development and need to ask themselves if they see anything as more important than the care of our children and helping give quality childcare provision which is accessible and affordable for all," Mr Lyttle concluded.



(JG/MH)

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