Enhanced childcare subsidies unlikely to lead to fee hike: Chan Chun Sing

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing gave the assurance on Wednesday that the recent enhanced subsidies for childcare are unlikely to lead to an increase in fees.

Replying in Parliament to Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong, Mr Chan said the subsidies are tiered to give more help to lower income families and larger families with a lower income per head.

"As the enhancements are not universal, it is less likely that operators can raise fees across the board," he said.

The enhancements, announced last month, will give parents a monthly subsidy of up to $300 for childcare starting from April this year. Mr Chan said his Ministry will also continue to develop more good quality, affordable centres to keep overall fees in check.

Mr Yee later asked for the Ministry's position on operators who go on to raise fees. Mr Chan said operators have to comply with guidelines requiring them to give parents adequate notice of fee increases. But anchor operators have to meet the more stringent criteria of charging below the childcare industry median of $750 a month, he added.

Ms Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) also voiced her concerns about private childcare operators who buy up smaller players in the market, narrowing the options available to parents. Mr Chan said this trend will be taken into account in the ongoing review of childcare affordability.