Creches shut as new law drives up costs

24th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 August 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dozens of crèches have closed down since the introduction of a law in January, it has been claimed.

24 August 2005

AMSTERDAM — Dozens of crèches have closed down since the introduction of a law in January, it has been claimed.

Newspaper 'De Volkskrant' reported on Wednesday that other daycare foundations face financial problems due to the Wet Kinderopvang (Daycare Law).

The Triodus foundation in The Hague has shut three of its 50 crèches and Director Rob Vergeer told the paper he is considering closing "four or five" more.

Partou, a company with 78 crèches, has closed the Hobbelpaard centre in Emmen and the Snoezel centre in Amsterdam. The SKSG group has closed an after-school centre in Lewenborg, one of its 30 branches.

Theo Offermans, chairperson of sector organisation MO Groep, estimated in 'de Volkskrant' that "several dozen" crèches have closed so far this year. He described 1 January 2005 — when the new law came into force — as a "great blow" to the sector.

It has resulted in many parents having to complete far more paperwork and pay more to keep their child or children in daycare.  As a result many parents have stopped using paid childcare services or cut the number of days they use daycare.

The MO Groep estimated in the spring that the demand for places had dropped by 6 percent, but Offermans thinks the real figure is closer to 10 percent.

The government is providing EUR 100 million to help middle-income earners with the cost of childcare, but Offermans said it is not enough. He told the paper that many families have to pay hundreds of  euros more a month for daycare.

Parents on low incomes can claim most of the cost back from the tax office, or belastingdienst, and often only have to contribute a few euros per hour to keep a child in daycare.

But Mark Aalders, director of SKSG in Groningen, said many parents struggle to fill in the 8-page form required to claim the rebate.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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