Northern Ireland Council Elections 2023 – ensure childcare is top of the political agenda

Ahead of next month’s Northern Ireland Council elections on 18 May, Employers For Childcare is encouraging everyone to ensure they are registered to vote – the deadline is 28 April – and to put pressure on candidates to highlight how they and their party will make childcare an urgent priority.

Commitment to childcare

Ahead of the upcoming local government elections, candidates will be going door to door across Northern Ireland canvassing for votes. This is an important opportunity for families, childcare providers and employers to highlight the issues that matter most to them – and to seek real, meaningful commitments.

We know a key issue that is impacting on so many is the continued lack of investment in our vital childcare infrastructure which is leading to increasing costs for families and putting unprecedented pressure on our childcare sector. Northern Ireland remains without a Childcare Strategy or any significant investment – and when compared with major recent developments in other parts of the UK and Ireland, we are falling further and further behind.

Parents are struggling to access and afford the childcare they need, and are being forced out of work, childcare providers are in crisis and children are missing out on valuable early development and education. This has gone on for much too long, it is not acceptable and it cannot continue.

While we need to see a re-established Executive to urgently deliver  a new Early Learning and Childcare Strategy, the Local Council elections give you the chance to speak directly to political parties and their candidates – so make your voice heard!

Questions to ask candidates ahead of the election

Our key priority is to secure progress on a funded Childcare Strategy, and ambitious support for our vital childcare sector and the parents who rely on it. So here are some questions that you can ask candidates who come to your door:

  • What are your party’s key priorities for investing in childcare and supporting parents and our childcare sector?
  • If elected, how will you ensure your Council makes childcare a priority, including through the provision of after school and holiday schemes that support parents to work?
  • What will you do to help promote jobs in the childcare sector and to support those wishing to open or expand local childcare businesses?
  • The cost-of-living crisis is still affecting all of us – what will you do NOW to help reduce costs for childcare providers and for parents in the Council area?
  • What is your party doing to support the re-establishment of the Executive and secure urgent progress on a new Childcare Strategy?

This is a not to be missed opportunity to let your local candidates know how lack of investment in childcare is impacting YOUR family and to demand action on this vitally important issue.

Ensure you are registered to vote

The deadline for registering to vote at the upcoming Local Council elections is midnight on Friday 28 April. Further information is available on the website of the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.

Find out more about Employers For Childcare’s policy asks

Employers For Childcare’s policy manifesto sets out key issues that must be addressed for the benefit of children and parents, for the local labour market and economy, and for society as a whole. You can read our Policy Manifesto in full on our website here.