Cuts hit daycare services (update)

Government spending cuts have led to a 12% drop in demand for pre-school daycare places and there is a risk quality will be hit, according to research by trade union FNV.

Since the beginning of the year, parents have had to pay more for a place at a daycare centre or creche, and 85% of centres report financial problems are looming, the Financieele Dagblad says.
Of the 700 parents who took part in the FNV research, 65% said they had reduced or were planning to reduce the number of hours their children spent in daycare. One-third of parents said they have reduced their hours at work to care for their children instead and 3% had stopped working altogether.
FNV spokeswoman Catalene Passchier told the paper the results are ‘extremely worrying’. The government may be saving money on childcare but is losing tax and premium income instead, she pointed out.
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.
During a debate on childcare on Thursday, social affairs minister Henk Kamp denied the cuts are causing daycare centres financial problems. Some 13% of creches currently have a waiting list, he told MPs.
Opposition MPs are concerned spending on childcare may be reduced still further as the government decides how to make an extra €9bn in savings. Kamp said during the debate he could not rule this out.

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