SDLP social justice spokesperson Mark H Durkan has welcomed proposals to cover upfront childcare costs for Universal Credit claimants, helping to remove barriers for parents seeking employment.
The Foyle MLA commented:
“Childcare costs remain the biggest barrier for parents, predominantly mothers, returning to employment.
“I am pleased that amendments have now been put forward that would cover 85% of upfront childcare costs for claimants of Universal Credit.
“The move follows a high court ruling that the requirement to pay childcare costs upfront before reclaiming them through Universal Credit, indirectly discriminates against women. Proposals will see the introduction of a non-repayable grant of up to £1500 paid in advance to a registered childcare provider.
“In doing so, I hope this will remove the financial burden on already struggling families, encourage more people to return to employment and provide further support for claimants in the wake of the pandemic. People shouldn’t have to choose between a fulfilling career and caring for their child.
“Fundamentally, this is an issue of workers’ rights and creating a fairer society. The SDLP will continue to make the case for 30-hours free universal childcare provision for all working families, to ease the burden of childcare costs, which in turn would transform our economy, create new jobs and provide parents with the opportunity to return to work.”