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Government, unions disagree about impact of childcare cuts

Tuesday 05 June 2012

The government and unions disagree about the impact of the increase in childcare costs on working mothers, according to media reports on Tuesday.

Social affairs minister Henk Kamp told parliament on Monday that the price rises have not led to many parents stopping work and that the number of working mothers has actually risen fractionally so far this year.

At the end of March, some 70.8% of mothers had at least a part-time job, compared with 70.5% at the beginning of the year, Kamp said.

Fewer children

Nevertheless, he admitted the number of children attending formal daycare centres or creches had gone down by 3% since the higher fees were introduced.

'Parents are paying more for childcare. They are thinking more carefully about what they actually need and looking for alternatives, such as family and friends,' Kamp said in a briefing.

But the FNV trade union federation is worried that the impact will be even greater next year. And the minister's assertions that there has not yet been an impact on working mothers is not the union's impression, spokeswoman Catelene Passchier told news agency ANP.

'The women we talk to say they are working fewer hours, not stopping altogether,' she said. 'The quality of childcare and jobs are on the line, and young mothers in particular are finding it difficult in the jobs market,' she said, urging the government not to go ahead with further cuts.

Daycare places

The FNV reported in March that spending cuts had led to a 12% drop in demand for pre-school daycare places.

The government spent some €1bn on childcare in 2010 but froze the budget last year and introduced tougher income controls on parents. The aim is to save €400m this year, rising to double that by 2015.

Meanwhile, the Telegraaf reports that families living in border areas are now sending their children to daycare centres in Belgium, which are much cheaper. One daycare centre in the Belgian border town of Arendonk has just two Belgian children and the rest are Dutch, the paper says.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (6)

I'm a working father, had to cut my shifts by a third, I don't have any family to help me, many friends are in the same situation...The daycare my kids go to used to have a waiting list, now they are getting rid of staff and cutting hours of the one remaining, all this means less taxes are being paid and more jobless, etc How can this minister denies such a dramatic impact....

By Jules C | June 5, 2012 12:11 PM

again, this government wants to make going to working expensive.

I wouldn't be surprised if they're also happy about fewer working mothers, as they probably believe it frees a job for a currently unemployed man to take.

All costs that are incurred for work should be non-taxable. Companies don't pay taxes on their overheads, only on their profits.

By H. | June 5, 2012 4:27 PM

I think the 12% drop speaks for itself. And I believe the FNV figures, certainly not Kamp's. This is going to cause major problems in my opinion.

By Bill | June 5, 2012 5:46 PM

Well another Govt error. I bet those idiots wont be voted out at the next election either! I can say that we will remove our children from BSO and probably one of us will quit work! So all that lost tax!

By jd | June 6, 2012 5:55 PM

Europe is suffering from a low birthrate already so any cuts to childcare is the opposite to what we need, but I guess the political class don't care because they can just replace the population with immigration.

The European culture is shrinking fast.

By Phil | June 7, 2012 9:53 AM

Wow, Phil...is everything the immigrants' fault??

I'm waiting with baited breath to hear your story of how immigrants are to blame for the rain, delayed trains, the high price of petrol, and the housing slump. *gets popcorn*

By CW | June 7, 2012 3:44 PM

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