New scheme to help more parents with the costs of childcare

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On Friday April 28, the Government is launching a brand new scheme called ‘

The new scheme will allow parents to set up an online account in to which they, or anyone else, can pay money in that they then use to pay their childcare provider. For every £8 that is paid in, the Government will pay in an additional £2, up to £2,000 (or £4,000 if disabled) per child, so effectively a 20 per cent top-up.

Parents are eligible for Tax Free Childcare if:

Both parents (who are a couple) work and earn at least £120 a week (equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum or living wage) and not more than £100,000 each per year

One parent works as above and the other is unable to work due to illness, disability, has caring responsibilities or has been assessed as having limited capacity for work (this only relates to parents who are a couple)

A single parent works and earns at least £120 per week and not more than £100,000 per year

The parent is not claiming help with childcare costs through Working Tax, Universal Credit or an employer childcare voucher scheme

The parent has a child under 12, or 17 if they have a disability, and is using an Ofsted registered childcare provider who has signed up to Tax Free Childcare

Parents can sign up now to receive an email alert when it is their time to set up an account at: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.

Parents of three and four year olds will be able to apply for the 30 hours of funded childcare at the same time. This scheme will start from September 2017 and will extend the current 15 hours of funded entitlement for working parents who meet the eligibility criteria.

A handy calculator has also been created to help parents work out whether they would be better off using Tax Free Childcare rather than one of the other schemes. This can be found at: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.

For more information on the schemes available or if you need advice, contact North Lincolnshire Council’s Family Information Service on 01724 296629 or email fis@northlincs.gov.uk.

Councillor David Rose, cabinet member for Children, Families and Learning, said: “I would encourage all working families in North Lincolnshire with children aged under 12, or 17 if disabled, to find out about Tax Free Childcare. It could make a huge difference with your childcare costs.

“The scheme is going to be gradually rolled out over the next few months starting with families who have a child under the age of two. Families can sign up to get an alert when they can set up and account, and start saving tax free.

“The 30 hours of free childcare is going to be available from September for children aged three and four. If you are eligible for this, make sure you don’t miss out and apply for the funding.”