Thank you for contacting me about childcare support and provision.
For many parents, being able to afford good-quality childcare is essential to working and supporting their families. The Government allocated over £3.6 billion for early years entitlements in 2020/21 to assist parents with their childcare costs and to ensure that all children have access to a quality early education.
Tax-Free Childcare helps around 2 million families with the cost of childcare. Everyone who earns at least £120 per week on average, but does not exceed £100,000 per annum, can apply for the scheme. Working parents are able to apply via an online childcare account, and access up to £2,000 per child, or £4,000 for disabled children. Temporary changes have been made to the eligibility criteria during coronavirus, and more information can be found at: Tax-Free Childcare - Tax-Free Childcare - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
£100,000 is the level at which the personal allowance starts to be withdrawn from individuals. Ceasing eligibility at a known threshold is designed to be easily understandable for parents and is simple to check. The maximum income limit applies to both Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare, and these schemes are designed to help working parents with their childcare costs. For families with two parents, both must be working to meet the criteria. It is therefore reasonable that the income eligibility criteria are applied on a per parent basis.
Unlike vouchers, Tax-Free Childcare is available to the self-employed, and can be claimed by parents whose employers do not offer vouchers. Tax-Free Childcare pays per child, rather than per parent.
In addition to Tax-Free Childcare, 30 hours of free childcare per week is available for working parents of three- and four-year-olds in England.
Local authorities oversee the childcare market in our area, so you can find more advice on the range of local providers from the Family Information Service.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Richard Fuller MP