Numbers on child care, skills development and education don’t add up, says CUPE
VICTORIA – The provincial budget released today is long on promises and glowing rhetoric despite declining child care spaces, gutted apprenticeship training and under-funded public education, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
“Given the hammering this government has taken over the lack of child protection services, it’s no surprise that the budget has a strong focus on children,” says CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.
“But the $421 million increase for children’s services doesn’t address the fact that child care spaces are actually going down, not up, and that fewer low-income families are receiving subsidies.”
(In September, the number of licensed child care spaces was projected to be 85,000. Now, it’s 79,000. In addition, family subsidies projected at 27,500 in September are now only 22,000.)
O’Neill said the budget also continues the imbalance in funding between public and private schools in B.C. Over the next three years, public schools will only see a 2.35-percent increase while private schools will receive a 10.38-percent increase. Meanwhile, inflation will go up 6.5 percent over that period.
“This is just one example of the litany of double standards this budget reflects,” said O’Neill. “We also find it disappointing that, while the Education Roundtable is being made permanent, CUPE—which represents 25,000 employees in the K-12 sector—is still not being invited to participate.”
O’Neill also raised questions about the new $90 million tax credit for skills development.
“It’s all very well that the government has identified a skills shortage and put new money in, but they have not replaced the programs they’ve cut,” said O’Neill.
“Instead of offering an undefined subsidy for business, why isn’t there anything in this budget to simply fund apprenticeship classes that actually educate and train people?”