Budget 2023 Submissions: An Overview

Budget 2023 Submissions: An Overview
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Early Childhood Ireland published our Budget 2023 Submission: Time For Transformation on Thursday, 14 July. We have called on the Government to announce an ambitious five-year plan of investment with clear funding targets and key priorities for each year, to transform the Early Years and School Age Care system. Various organisations have by this time published their Budget 2023 submissions, in which they make a series of proposals as to how public finances should be allocated in 2023.
 
There is an understanding among various groups and stakeholders in society that increasing investment in Early Years and School Age Care (EY/SAC), albeit at times for different goals, should be a priority, as shown by the following examples:
Chambers Ireland

Under their Labour Participation budgetary priority, Chambers Ireland recognises that our current system of EY/SAC is not fit for purpose. With childcare costs in Ireland among the highest in the EU, approximately half of working mothers consider leaving the workforce, undermining female participation in the labour market. Taking example from Nordic models where EY/SAC is viewed more as a basic state service rather than a private sector endeavour, they call for greater state intervention in the sector to provide a steady supply of affordable, quality childcare, reduce childcare costs and achieve a more sustainable and diverse labour market.

  • Recommendation: Make sustained progress towards a more universal model of childcare to enhance female participation in the labour force. (Chambers Ireland)
Social Justice Ireland

As part of its proposed Budget 2023 investment package into Children and Families of €749.7m, Social Justice Ireland proposes that the Government invest an additional €30m in Core Funding to support wages, explore how a National Childcare Fund could be established based on the operation of the National Training Fund and increase resources for the regulation of childminders by €2m. They also suggest a €3.5 million allocation to support the delivery of the National Action Plan for the EU Child Guarantee.

  • Recommendation: Government should allocate €115m in Budget 2023, to bring spending in Early Years to 0.5 per cent of GDP and build on this investment each year to reach 1 per cent of GDP by 2027. (Social Justice Ireland)
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul includes Early Years as one of their core priorities for Budget 2023, stating that progress in Budget 2022 must be progressed so Ireland can deliver on the EU Child Guarantee of free early years care for children in poverty.

  • Recommendation: Unlock free early years care and education and afterschool care to all low-income families, including one-parent families. This requires ensuring all disadvantaged children can access early years care and education regardless of their parents’ employment status. Eligibility for free support should be based on satisfying a means test for existing state benefits. Investment for Budget 2023: €10 million. (Society of St. Vincent de Paul)
Sinn Féin

In early July Sinn Féin launched Delivering Affordable Childcare: A Vision for Early Years Education, their childcare policy outlining the party’s proposals to cut childcare fees by two-thirds for families over a period of two years. Other key commitments therein include;

  • Over two budgets increase annual investment in early years education and childcare by €270 million;
  • Provide for the introduction of decent pay scales for staff in the sector (e.g., Mercer pay scales).
  • Introduction of a fee control mechanism to accompany the investment and to build in a policy mechanism to annually review the fee structure and potential impact of inflation.
European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN)

The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) makes mention of ELC/SAC, highlighting the importance of  investment in public services and supports such as the adequate funding of a public childcare system.

Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice

The Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice note the importance of the wider set of essential social services (e.g. housing, childcare, health) to support people towards an adequate income which enables a life with dignity.

Links to the full submission documents are provided above. Early Childhood Ireland has been tracking submissions and key policy publications to monitor support for the Early Years and School Age Care sector in the lead up to Budget 2023. This is an overview of documents published to date. We continue to analyse and report on further publications as they become available. If you have any questions, please contact our policy team.

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