Government doubles amount of free childcare for working families

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The Government has announced plans to double free childcare for working families.

The offer of 30 hours’ free childcare per week during term time - twice the current entitlement - would benefit up to 90,000 parents in the south east to the tune of £5,000 per year.

The announcement, which was made today (Monday June 1) included a pledge to increase childcare funding rates paid to providers in different parts of the country – with a consultation on the funding levels set to begin before summer.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, welcomed the consultation news.

He said: “We have long warned that the existing schemes are significantly underfunded, leaving providers and parents to make up the shortfall.

“As such, it is very positive to see that the Department for Education is listening to the concerns raised by the Alliance and its members, and is now recognising that inadequate free entitlement funding is a serious problem that must be addressed as a priority.”

Childcare and Education Minister, Sam Gyimah said: “This is a triple win for 90,000 families in the south east, where local parents will be able to return to the work place and hold on to more of their hard-earned money while their children benefit from 30 hours of free, flexible childcare.

“Childcare costs can be a burden on family finances that prevents parents from working. We want to remove these barriers so those parents who do want to work can.

“This will give more support than ever before for families in the south east who need it most and a fairer deal for all of the region’s hard working parents.”