An additional €20 million will be allocated towards supporting childcare measures, including the extended free pre-school programme. This means there will be a full two-year service available from September 2018.

During his budget speech in the Dail today, Mr Donoghue said the government was committed to “the development of affordable quality childcare with a focus on children, parents and providers.”

In addition, the capitation rate for providers of the ECCE Pre-school programme will increase by 7 per cent from September 2018. The ECCE scheme provides early childhood care and education for children of pre-school age, not older than 5 and a-half years of age.

A universal childcare payment for the under threes will continue in 2018.

Child benefit

  • There’s been an increase in the earnings disregard for the One Parent FamilyPayment and the Jobseekers’ Transitional scheme by €20 per week
  • An increase in the threshold for receipt of the Family Income Supplement by €10 per week for families with up to three children
  • An increase in the Home Carer Credit of €100, which is now worth €1,200 per year
  • An increase in the weekly rate of the qualified child payment by €2 per week