The government are soon to double the amount of free childcare available to eligible families. The childcare entitlement applies for children aged three and four, as well as most disadvantaged two-year olds. This initiative is to incentivise parents to return to work, or increase their working hours and not feel the pressure of having to support additional childcare costs.
Millions already benefit from free childcare
Currently all three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours free childcare per week. In most cases disadvantaged two year olds will also be given access to this benefit.
Over a million three and four-year olds benefited last year, as well as over 150,000 two-year olds.
Changes from September 2017
The government had promised additional childcare from next year as part of a past manifesto.
However, their commitment to helping hardworking people has been accelerated, and changes will commence this year, with the 30-hour entitlement scheme being available from September 2017.
Some working parents are already benefiting from the new arrangement in a pilot scheme that was rolled out in some areas of the UK during 16/17.
The scheme will roll-out nationally from September, where 390,000 working families will be able to claim the additional free hours.
Many of these are for children with existing childcare places, so the parents simply get the hours without incurring the current levels of cost.
An additional £1 billion extra per year will be invested by 2019 and 2020, funding the extra free childcare.
Terms & conditions – who is eligible?
- Families where both parents, or the sole parent in a single parent household, earns more than the equivalent of 16 hours per week, at the national living wage, are eligible for the 30 hours free childcare
- Parents that earn over £100k each, per year, are NOT eligible
- Joint household income of £100k is allowable for the extension in hours though
- The 15 hours free childcare will still apply for parents that do not meet the work criteria
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