The estimated costs per annum across the National Childcare Scheme of increasing the universal subsidy to €1 and €2 respectively are set out in the table below. The figures are based on the full cost to the National Childcare Scheme, assuming that the minimum targeted subsidy is increased so as never to be below the universal subsidy in all cases.
The costs are arrived at by:
- establishing the number of families with children under 15 years by income bracket (data supplied by CSO) and
- profiling these families by reference to the age of their children and
- estimating the proportion of children in each income bracket and age range using registered care and
- calculating estimated subsidy rates based on income levels and age profile and
- applying estimates of the average hours used by age group for term time and non-term time.
The cost estimates for subsidies at the existing levels (50c universal and the current targeted subsidy levels) assume a relatively conservative level of change from current scheme uptake. This change is used at a fixed level throughout the estimates. In other words, increased subsidies may create behavioural changes by families which are not factored into scenarios (for example, families moving from unregistered childminding to registered Early Learning and Care services that are eligible for the National Childcare Scheme).
Additional Cost per annum
The following should also be noted:
- The figures do not include once-off transitional “savers” costs under section 26 of the Childcare Support Act.
- This assumes the minimum targeted subsidy is set by the universal subsidy for children under 3 years (or children over 3 years who do not yet qualify for ECCE) who are eligible for targeted subsidies.