Children up to the age of 15 will be included in the universal payment under the National Childcare Scheme under changes to be announced in the Budget.

There are two types of subsidies available under the National Childcare Scheme: a Universal subsidy and an Income Assessed subsidy.

Until now, only children under three were covered by the non-means tested subsidy.

It provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a Tusla-registered childcare place for a maximum of 45 hours per week.

There will not be any changes to the rate paid.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman will also announce changes to the income assessed subsidies under the scheme to give more help to disadvantaged families.

This follows criticism that parents not working full-time were losing out.

The childcare package in the Budget will also include a new direct State investment into services in return for a guarantee that fees will not be increased.

This will also cover improvements to pay and conditions for childcare workers.

The aim will be to help the sustainability of the sector along with staff retention.

The cost is estimated at €100m in 2022 rising to €200m in 2023.