I propose to take Questions Nos. 57, 72 and 80 together.
As I have indicated, the national childcare scheme will open for applications on 20 November. The current childcare subvention schemes will continue to accept applications for a further short period of time. The community childcare subvention scheme, CCSP, will remain open to new applicants until Friday, 15 November 2019. The training and employment childcare, TEC, schemes will remain open to new applications until 14 February 2020. No new applications for these schemes can be made after these dates.
The transition to the national childcare scheme represents a major change management initiative for Pobal as scheme administrator.
Accordingly, while applications for CCSP will be accepted until Friday, 15 November, providers are strongly urged to submit all applications by 1 November, to the greatest extent possible, so that applications can be processed in a timely way and Pobal can concentrate on preparations for the opening of the national childcare scheme.
Any parent who is in receipt of support under the current legacy schemes can choose to remain on that scheme and can continue to receive the same level of support that they are receiving at present. These families can also choose to move over to the national childcare scheme at any time from 20 November onwards and, for many, this will mean receiving a higher level of subsidy towards the cost of their childcare.
This approach reflects my commitment that no one will lose out in the transition to the new scheme.
Through budget 2020, I have secured the full year costs of the national childcare scheme for 2020, in addition to extra enhancements that will be of particular benefit to lone parents and other working families. Certain families already had the option to stay on existing schemes until the end of August 2020. They will now be able to stay on those schemes until they are no longer eligible or they no longer require childcare.
From September 2020, the maximum hours for the new scheme will increase from 40 hours per week to 45 hours, particularly benefiting parents of school-age children who need before-school and after-school childcare to include time for work and commuting. Low-income parents who are not working or studying will have their hours increased from 15 to 20 hours. This will support our objective of promoting employment and reducing poverty.
The introduction of the national childcare scheme will increase the number of families who can access financial support, with some families now receiving support towards their childcare costs for the first time.
As mentioned, it will also see many families qualify for a higher level of support, including as a result of the important new enhancements from budget 2020. For example, the budget measures will see maximum subsidy rates for a child aged under one increase from their current level of €145 per week, to €204 per week from 25 November 2019 when they move on to the national childcare scheme, NCS, and to €229.50 per week from September 2020.
I am pleased to be able to provide the House with assurances about the financial impact of the national childcare scheme from its inception. While there were concerns that some groups would lose out in the transition to the new scheme, I assure Deputies that this will not be the case.