With Budget Day 2022 just days away, a lot of what is to come has already been confirmed including plenty for parents.
Government leaders have been sharing hints as to what we can expect when Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe unveils the latest Budget on Tuesday.
And after criticism that parents were an afterthought in last year’s Budget, with one charity describing it as a “missed opportunity” to provide income security for Ireland’s poorest families, childcare has been strongly in focus this year.
From the latest statements on childcare, parental leave, child benefit and household fuel allowance, here is all we are expecting to be announced on October 12:
On Tuesday, Sinn Fein will introduce a motion in the Dáil, calling on the Government to commit to delivering a State childcare system in Budget 2022.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar confirmed that “we are of course going to examine in the context of the Budget… the cost of childcare.”
“It’s still the case for many people [that] childcare is like paying two mortgages or having to pay the rent twice every week and it’s also, from an enterprise and employment point of view, a barrier to people returning to the workplace.
“We’ve skill shortages across the economy.
“Many parents, particularly women but not exclusively women, can’t get back into the workplace because of the cost of childcare.
“So I think it is something that you’ll see the Government focus on in the years ahead.”
Dublin South-West TD John Lahart suggested that Ireland should move towards universal free childcare along with improved pay for childcare workers.
Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman also confirmed that he is hoping to make changes to the National Childcare Scheme next year. Last year, the subsidies for the universal and means-tested childcare scheme weren’t mentioned on Budget Day.
Next August, parents will see an added two weeks of parental leave. Parents with a new baby can take up to seven weeks off from work along with €245 payments from the Government.
Dun Laoghaire TD Cormac Devlin is understood to believe that child benefit should be extended for children over the age of 18 who are in full-time education.
As the cost of living continues to rise, a boost to the children’s allowance could be beneficial to parents across the country.
Child benefit is currently €140 per month for each child. This was untouched in Budget 2021.
It has been suggested that everybody in the country could be getting a €100 voucher to spend on tourism and hospitality this winter, a scheme akin to last year’s Stay and Spend tax rebate scheme.
Tourism Minister Catherine Martin told the Irish Mirror that a voucher scheme for all is part of the negotiations as she bats for the tourism sector in the Budget talks.
Households could be getting help in paying their bills as Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan confirmed the government will be looking to support those struggling as energy costs continue to rise.
Minister Ryan has also said that “we’re going to have to look at similar and potentially, other larger measures because for this winter, it is going to be a factor.”