Childcare provider in Omagh warns that fee hike is 'inevitable' due to soaring coasts

A childcare provider in Omagh says a price hike in fees is 'inevitable' because of the soaring cost to run the centre.

Nicola Carson from Omagh Early Years is worried parents who are already struggling with the cost of living won't be able to afford their service and may have to decide if working is worth it.

“Our pricing is under review. We are making changes to how we operate like where we do our grocery shopping or where we get some of our supplies to keep costs down for parents,” she said.

“We don't want to have to lose families but we know the increase is coming, it is inevitable that our prices will have to go up.”

Aoife Hamilton from Employers for Childare says the industry is in crisis and urgent financial help is needed. Parents are having to think about if they can afford to work or reduce their hours.

“Childcare fees are increasing by 10 per cent or more from next month. This is challenging for both parents and childcare providers,” she said.

“We need to see ambitious investment in the childcare sector and we need immediate urgent support here and now.”

A Department of Education spokesperson said: “Work is ongoing to develop high level costed options for inclusion within an Early Learning and Childcare Strategy. The actions ultimately committed to and funded will be for the Executive to decide.

“Affordability of childcare for families is a key factor being considered for the Strategy. In the meantime, the Department is working with others to ensure that parents are aware of the financial support already available to help with their childcare costs. This has involved the creation of promotional radio, newspaper and digital adverts, the development of a specific campaign for Northern Ireland to increase the uptake of the UK-wide Tax-Free Childcare Scheme and the production of an Employers Guide to Childcare.

“In parallel, the Department of Health, which has statutory responsibility for regulation and inspection of childcare services is considering the regulatory framework to determine whether any changes can be made to potentially reduce some of the pressures experienced by childcare providers.”

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