A key task facing any government is providing support for families with young children.
Free childcare provision has been doubled to 30 hours a week for eligible working parents of 3- and 4-year olds, with £6 billion a year being invested in childcare by 2019-20.
It’s now time to turn attention to the next cohort of children joining the scheme in January; these are the children who will have turned three years old by the end of December.
I’d encourage any parents seeking to take up a 30 hours place for their child in the January term to apply now (ideally by 30th November) to ensure an eligibility code is sent in good time for next term. Sometimes the code can’t be sent straight away as HM Revenue & Customs may need further information to check whether a parent is eligible; for example where the parent has a job offer rather than a record of employment with HMRC.
Parents who already have a child taking up a 30 hours place additionally need to confirm their details are up to date every three months. Parents should receive an email notification four weeks and two weeks before this date, reminding them to do so. Parents will also need to confirm their details via their online childcare account which can be found at: www.gov.uk/childcareaccount
On 24th November 2017, Tax-Free Childcare will be rolled out to parents whose youngest child is under six or who has their sixth birthday on that day. To apply and visit the childcare calculator, please visit: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk
Families receiving Universal Credit are having 85 per cent of their childcare costs met, to support parents into work. The rate of childcare support in Universal Credit has been increased, saving families £646 for one child or £1,108 for two or more children.
Such support can make a real difference and this is an area I’ll continue to pursue with the Government.