Thousands of Irish families to miss out on new subsidy after IT problem
Thousands of hard-working families are to miss out on part of the Government's new childcare subsidy due to a delay in building a workable IT system.
Revenue and the Department of Social Protection are not yet in a position to share information that will allow the scheme be automatically administered - meaning around 9,000 families will miss out on up to €12 a week from September.
Children's Minister Katherine Zappone is unable to say when the problem will be resolved but it will be next year at the earliest.
It was announced last year that €19m would be spent this year on the Affordable Childcare Scheme that would benefit every family with a child aged under three.
Ms Zappone said today that Ireland is "moving from one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world to the best".
From September, a new universal childcare subsidy will kick in for 33,000 children. For children in full-time, registered childcare, it will amount to €1,000 a year.
However, a second element of the scheme targeted at low-income families has hit a snag.
The Department of Children is working with the Department of Social Protection, Pobal and Revenue to build a fully-automated online system which will ultimately be used to access and administer childcare supports.
Until that system is in place, families close to the €47,500 income threshold for extra benefits will miss out.
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar admitted today that the problem is likely to affect working families, rather than those already reliant on social welfare.
"It's certainly not as we intended it when the announcement was made some months ago," he said.