We can’t afford to have another child

A BANBRIDGE mother said she and her husband cannot afford to have a third child because childcare costs are stretching them to the limit.

The 32-year-old told the Leader around one third of her and her husband’s income goes towards paying for her three-year-old and 18-month-old children to be cared for while they are at work.

Both parents work as scientists at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and said they had previously considered one of them giving up their job to look after the children.

“But that wouldn’t really have benefited us either,” said the local mother. “The three-year-old is in pre-school but we worked out that’s really only saving us about £6 a week.”

The mother-of-two said she and her husband would love to have another child but they don’t see it as a realistic possiblility in the near future because of the extreme strains it would put on their finances.

“Childcare is such a drain. We would absolutely love another child, and even with two of us in decent jobs, there’s no way we could afford it. We are paying just over £1,000 a month with two kids.”

A recent survey found most parents are struggling with the pressure of paying for childcare and many feel they are better off with only one parent working.

Some parents in Northern Ireland are spending as much as 45 per cent of their incomes on childcare, revealed the survey by Save the Children and Daycare Trust.

Save the Children called on the Northern Ireland Executive to do more to increase childcare provision locally.

Fergus Cooper, from Save the Children in Northern Ireland, said, “Save the Children wants to see a new childcare strategy with appropriate levels of funding in the new Programme for Government.

“This needs to work across departments to tackle historical under-provision and needs to be especially targeted and resourced to support families living in poverty to access training and employment and should be accessible across Northern Ireland.”

The Banbridge mother said a reduction in the cost of childcare combined with more help from the Executive is necessary to help parents.