Representatives of Lisburn-based Employers For Childcare joined Pat Catney MLA at a public meeting recently to discuss the issue of childcare provision.
The SDLP general election candidate believes that increasing free childcare provision is critical to families across Northern Ireland.
Speaking after the event, which was held in Bridge Community Centre, Mr Catney said: “As a father and grandfather I understand just how important good quality childcare is to family life. That is why I organised a public meeting to discuss what can be done to make it easier for families to access it in our local community.
“The cost of childcare remains a significant barrier for parents of young children entering the workforce. I believe that increasing free childcare provision is critical to families in Lagan Valley if we are to grow our economy and help more people into work.”
He added: “The SDLP has campaigned to increase childcare provision from 12.5 hours per week to 20 hours per week, with a view to further increasing it to 30 hours. As well as reducing the direct cost of childcare to families, this removes a key barrier for those seeking work or training, benefitting our entire economy.
“As a newly elected MLA I will do all I can to make sure that childcare becomes a top priority for the Assembly, including working with organisations like Employers For Childcare who, through their Family Benefits Advice Team, continue to make childcare more accessible to parents across Northern Ireland.”