SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has proposed the Westminster Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (NIAC) begin an inquiry into childcare in Northern Ireland.
The committee has agreed to hold an inquiry in the New Year if an Executive is not in place.
Ms Hanna said that Stormont’s failure to function is an impediment to solving one of the biggest issues facing families in Northern Ireland.
South Belfast MP Ms Hanna said:
“The cost of childcare is currently one of the most pressing issues in Northern Ireland. In recent years costs have skyrocketed to the point where many parents, especially women, are leaving or considering leaving the workforce to care for their child, because they do not make enough to justify their childcare costs. All the time I’m speaking to talented people who feel forced to abandon careers they are passionate about and have invested years into through education and training.
“For too long the situation with childcare has been allowed to spiral out of control. The cost of living crisis has brought matters to a head with added pressures for both parents and childcare providers, but we cannot simply stand by and do nothing about it, even if the failure of Stormont to function has made meaningful change all the more difficult.
“I believe that when Stormont returns we must be ready to make the necessary changes so that childcare is affordable for every family and that providers can offer their services while making ends meet. I have been determined to use the NI Affairs Committee as a meaningful driver of policy change and that’s why I have proposed it hold an inquiry into childcare which will give us the chance to hear from campaigners and providers about what will make a real difference to the lives of people here. If the Executive is not in place we will commence this inquiry early next year and the SDLP Opposition team will use its findings to help inform childcare proposals for when the institutions return.”