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One in three NI providers 'plans to raise prices'

  • November 23, 2021
    One in three NI providers 'plans to raise prices'

    One in three childcare providers in Northern Ireland is planning to put up prices as they struggle with rising costs, a survey has suggested.

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    The survey was carried out by social enterprise Employers For Childcare and received more than 2,200 responses from parents and childcare providers.

    It found almost a third of childcare providers described their current financial position as "distressed".

    Some said that they were facing immediate risk of closure.

    At the same time, about a quarter of families - 28% - said they were struggling to find and pay for the childcare they need.

    'Worrying picture'
    The research suggested the average cost of a full-time childcare place in Northern Ireland was £170 per week - the equivalent of 34% of the median weekly household income in Northern Ireland.

    Aoife Hamilton, the enterprise's head of charity services, said: "Childcare providers are facing unprecedented challenges - in recruiting and retaining staff and meeting salaries, particularly with the increase announced to the National Living Wage, as well as rising food and energy costs and uncertainty over numbers and occupancy levels.

    "We have been reporting on childcare in Northern Ireland for over a decade and for many years, parents and childcare providers have been telling us about the issues they face, but this is the most worrying picture yet."

    'I don't work for the money'
    Alicia Lappin is among the working parents who are concerned about rising childcare costs.

    The mother of four from Portadown, County Armagh, would like to return to work full time, but said "the cost of childcare doesn't allow me to do it".

    "Year on year, it seems that my pay packet goes up pennies but the childcare seems to go up pounds... every single year it's a bit more," she told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

    "It's got to the stage where I've had to make my hours part time in order to be able to cover the cost of childcare - it doesn't financially pay me to be there full time."