Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle has said the lack of devolution is severely hampering early childhood development, after a major survey showed the childcare bill is the largest or second largest monthly outgoing for two-thirds of families here.
The Childcare Cost Survey Report by Employers for Childcare showed after housing, the childcare bill continues to exceed groceries, heating, transport and other household costs. It added enhanced and strategic investment in financial support for childcare is key to help provide quality provision.
"Childcare is by far the issue raised with me the most by my constituents. Affordable, quality childcare is vital to the development of children, while simultaneously helping families access employment and training opportunities to obtain skills and contribute to our economy," said East Belfast MLA Mr Lyttle.
"However, this report clearly outlines how much of a struggle achieving that childcare is for many families. There is a Childcare Strategy awaiting Ministerial sign-off, but due to the collapse of power-sharing, it is simply gathering dust instead of helping those who need it.
"Those parties blocking the restoration of the Assembly are hampering early childhood development and need to ask themselves if they see anything as more important than the care of our children and helping give quality childcare provision which is accessible and affordable for all."