UTV highlights Northern Ireland’s childcare crisis in The View From Stormont
UTV’s flagship political analysis show, The View From Stormont, featured Northern Ireland’s childcare crisis in an episode broadcast on Monday 23 October 2023. Reporter Stewart Robson interviewed a number of families about the struggles they face in finding and paying for the childcare they need in order to work. Speaking to some mums attending the weekly toddler morning in High Rise Lisburn, he heard about how, for many parents, it just doesn’t make financial sense to work, due to the high cost of childcare.
Aoife Hamilton from Employers For Childcare was also interviewed, highlighting the need for a bespoke solution to Northern Ireland’s childcare crisis, that supports both parents and our childcare sector. With 275 childcare providers having closed since Covid-19, many within the sector are finding it difficult to be sustainable, and Aoife outlined some of the issues associated with the expansion announced in the Spring Budget of the 30 hours free childcare scheme in England.
A number of local elected representatives also contributed to the discussion – DUP MLA for Lagan Valley, Emma Little-Pengelly, who said it was an “absolutely priority” for the DUP and Claire Hanna, SDLP MP for South Belfast who recognised the impact on working parents, especially women, many of whom are being “locked out” of the jobs market due to childcare issues.
The discussion of Northern Ireland’s childcare crisis finished back in the studio with contributions from Tina McKenzie, from the Federation of Small Businesses, who outlined the impact on the economy of parents not being able to afford the childcare they need to work, and Anna Mercer from Strategem who stressed the importance for children of having access to high quality early years education, as well as for parents, in enabling them to work and made the case for viewing support for childcare as a critical public investment.
Watch the episode back here.