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Lyttle welcomes UN challenge to UK Government on childcare gap

Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has welcomed a challenge by a UN committee for the UK Government to close the childcare gap in Northern Ireland.

The UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) recently stated childcare costs here 'remain excessive,' which 'constitutes an obstacle for women to enter and progress in the workplace'. Among other suggestions, it recommends the availability of affordable and accessible childcare for Northern Ireland.

"A recent report by Employers for Childcare showed childcare costs were second only to mortgage for families here, exceeding groceries, heating, transport and other household costs," said Mr Lyttle.

"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. But still we see some families struggle to access it or make quality childcare work for them.

"There remains a Childcare Strategy awaiting Ministerial sign-off, but due to the lack of an Executive it is simply gathering dust instead of helping those who need it. This challenge by the UN is to the UK Government but the parties blocking the restoration of the Assembly need to realise they could also help improve the situation by taking the steps which could ensure quality childcare provision which is accessible and affordable for all."