Childcare fees increase - Singapore

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132, or 18 per cent, of the 749 childcare centres in Singapore, had raised fees or had announced their intention to do so since last August.

In February, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), said in Parliament that 132, or 18 per cent, of the 749 childcare centres in Singapore, had raised fees or had announced their intention to do so since last August.

Last September, The Sunday Times reported that a month after higher childcare subsidies were announced, 17 of the 20 childcare centres it contacted, indicated their intention to raise fees by $30 to $120 a month.

An MCYS spokesman told The New Paper that in the past month, another 17 centres had notified it of fees revisions to take effect this month and in April. As childcare centres are private businesses, they can increase fees at their own discretion, the spokesman said. They need only inform MCYS and the parents of a fee revision at least two months before the implementation.

During the Budget debate last month, Dr. Balakrishnan urged childcare centres to hold off fee increases during the downturn.

Last August, the Government announced higher childcare subsidies under the Enhanced Marriage and Parenthood Package to make childcare more affordable. F

or working mothers, the maximum monthly subsidy went up from $150 a month per child to $300. Childcare subsidies for non-working mothers rose from $75 a month per child to $150.

The Government also announced it will give up to $21 million a year, by 2013, to help eligible not-for-profit centres upgrade, but private operators are excluded. Childcare centres will also benefit from the Jobs Credit scheme, which gives them up to $300 a month for each worker to help lower the cost of hiring local workers.

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Written by

Roshni Mahtani