Childcare payments shake-up looms

Government payments to grandparents who take care of grandchildren while their parents are working are to be stopped, the AD reports on Thursday.

The paper says the ending of the controversial subsidy is part of a shake-up of the childcare system which junior minister Sharon Dijksma plans to introduce to cut costs. Childcare cost the government some €1.5bn last year, 25% above the budget.
Last year some 150,000 children were cared for by grandparents or by informal childminders at a cost to the government of €600m. Grandparents currently get up to €6 an hour for looking after their offspring. The fee was set to be cut to €2.50 next year.
But according to the childminder’s lobby group PKGO, some 10,000 women could stop working if the subsidy scheme ends. ‘The consquences will be disastrous,’ a spokesman told the paper.
The plan may cause divisions in the cabinet, the paper says. The minor coalition party ChristenUnie supports the informal sector because it functions in rural parts of the country without licenced creches.

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