Government to boost spending on childcare subsidies by almost €300m

children playgroundThe government is increasing childcare subsidies in 2016 after years of cutting back, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher told MPs on Monday evening.

In total, the minister is set to spend an extra €290m a year on the benefit, which helps parents pay for childcare at daycare centres, after-school clubs and official child minders. Next year’s childcare budget will therefore rise to €2.5bn.

The increase means the government will foot 94% of the childcare bill for low income families.

An average income family with earnings of some €36,000 a year will get an extra €80 a month, the Volkskrant says. The maximum a family can receive in childcare subsidies will go up to €230 a month per child.

Childcare sector organisation Kinderopvang said the rise could create up to 7,000 jobs in the sector, which has been hard hit by the cuts in recent years. ‘The government is emphasising the importance of childcare in terms of the development of children and in getting people into work,’ the organisation said in a statement.

Last week it emerged that Asscher had earmarked €60m to ensure all pre-school children have several hours childcare a week, whether or not their parents work.

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