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Urgent support needed for childcare sector: FECP and ISME call for support

18th August 2023:   The members of Federation of Early Childhood Providers (FECP) have expressed their frustration at lack of progress on securing funding for their sector. The status in the sector has now reached crisis point and without the securing of adequate funding, many more services providers will follow the lead of those providers who have closed their services. FECP is a member of ISME.

Almost all providers have been tied into fee structures where rates have been frozen since 2017.  But at the same time wages having risen more than 22%.  This is in addition to huge increases in insurance, food, rent, transport and interest costs.  Consequently, many early years services are no longer viable under the current constraints.

The rates chargeable to parents are controlled under the state schemes, therefore the ability of providers to recoup their costs is severely compromised. The providers have advised the Federation of their intention to close their services in protest on 26th, 27th and 28th September inclusive in protest at the lack of progress on fees.

The childcare pay talks at the Early Years Joint Labour Committee are, as a consequence,  constrained by the extent to which funding supports are made available to providers by Government.

Neil McDonnell, CEO, ISME said: “ISME members will be badly hit by any withdrawal of childcare services, but they understand the frustrations of providers in securing payment rates sufficient to maintain their services. Member businesses have voiced their support of the Federation in pursuit of adequate rates. While ISME hopes that service withdrawal does not take place, we advise our members to assume that childcare services will be disrupted from 26th to 28th September, and to plan accordingly.”

Elaine Dunne, Chairperson, FECP said: “Services are permanently closing, children are being displaced. The consequence of this is that women are potentially being forced out of the workforce. A second Employment Regulation Order is on the way and there is not enough funding to keep providers viable. In the last three days alone, six services closed. This will continue until the Department of Children; our Minister and the government fund the sector correctly.”