Employers For Childcare welcomes NICCY’s call to Address Child Poverty

To coincide with the 25th International day for the Eradication of Poverty, NICCY—the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People – is highlighting the levels, and impact of, child poverty in Northern Ireland.

According to the Commissioner, 444,000 children in Northern Ireland live in poverty, and 61 per cent of these children are in households where at least one parent is working. This means that almost 1 in every 4 children in Northern Ireland lives in a family which struggles to provide for their basic needs, provide a warm adequate home, nutritious food, appropriate clothing and to pay for childcare.

Employers For Childcare’s Childcare Cost Survey 2016*—analysing parents’ experiences of using and paying for childcare—shows that childcare places a significant financial strain on parents:

  • A third reported that their childcare bill was higher than their mortgage or rent payments.
  • Over half stated that they were under increased financial pressure as a result of paying for childcare.
  • One in four were using means such as credit cards, overdrafts, loans from family and friends and payday loans to ensure their childcare costs were met.

The reality is that, while a key route out of poverty can be for parents to find work, childcare costs impact on the ability of parents to access and stay in work:

  • Fifty per cent reduced their working hours or left work altogether because of the cost of childcare
  • Forty-three per cent changed the pattern of their working hours, for example choosing flexi-time, shift work or compressed hours.

Employers For Childcare welcomes NICCY’s campaign to address child poverty, to include meeting the material needs of children through increasing family incomes, and producing a comprehensive action plan to tackle the impacts of child poverty and barriers to escaping it, including introducing affordable childcare.

Please consider supporting their campaign by visiting their iCampaigner page, where you can send a letter to your MLA asking them to take action on child poverty.

*The Childcare Cost Survey 2017 results will be published later this year.