The new Childcare Choices website, provides a simple way of seeing the new offers available to families in England, with easy next steps to find out more.
From September 2017, 30 hours free childcare will be available for working parents of three and four year olds. This doubles the existing 15 hours currently available and could save working families up to £5,000 a year.
To be eligible, parents must be in work (including self-employment and zero hours contracts) and each earning at least £120 per week, and not more than £100,000 per year.
If a parent is on maternity, paternity or adoption leave or they are unable to work because they are disabled or have caring responsibilities they may also be eligible.
Parents are strongly advised to apply before 31 August to ensure their eligibility before the September start date.
Tax-Free Childcare will be available for children under 12 years old (under 17 for disabled children) and can be used to contribute towards nursery, childminder and after-school care. It is an online payment account, topped up by the government, which parents use solely to pay their childcare costs. For every £8 that families pay in, the government makes a top-up payment of £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year (£4,000 for disabled children).
Parents can check their eligibility for 30 hours free childcare and tax-free childcare by using the online childcare calculator. If eligible they can submit an online application ahead of September and receive an eligibility code to take to their provider, which will then be checked with the local authority.
Councillor Binda Rai, cabinet member for children’s services said: “This new process should make it much easier for parents to find out what is on offer and what they are eligible for. Don’t wait until September to apply, start the process today and get ahead of the rush.”
Tax-Free Childcare will be introduced to parents with the youngest child first and gradually rolled out so that all parents will be able to apply by the end of 2017. Parents who have registered with the ‘keep me updated’ tool will be notified when they become eligible.
Childcare providers have a pivotal role in Tax-Free Childcare. Details of local providers and the offer they make can be found at Ealing Children and Families Directory online or by contacting the Ealing Family Information Service on 020 8825 5588.
Childcare Choices website : www.childcarechoices.gov.uk
Childcare Calculator online : www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator
Ealing Children and Families Directory : www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk