This Government understands that paying for childcare can be a daunting task for families trying to make ends meet. To help parents with childcare costs, the Government has spent more than any government before - a record £6bn a year by 2020.
Three significant new childcare support measures are currently being rolled out, adding to the wide range of support and opportunities available to parents and their children.
First, in the 2017 Conservative manifesto we pledged to introduce 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds children of working parents. We have honoured this commitment and I am proud that this Conservative Government has increased the number of free hours of childcare by 15 hours per week, saving families up to £5,000 a year per child. 200,000 children have benefited from last September. By delivering on this pledge we have supported mothers and fathers returning to work, and increasing their working hours where they want to.
Second, for parents claiming Universal Credit, support is available for up to 85% of their childcare costs for children under 16. This compares generously with Tax Credits, which provides only 70% of the costs. This support is estimated to benefit half a million households and is worth over £13,000 a year to a family with two or more children.
Finally, to help support all parents, including many who cannot access existing voucher schemes or are self-employed, we have introduced Tax-Free Childcare. This provides up to £2,000 of support for childcare costs for children under 12 (and up to £4000 for those children with disabilities up to 17). It is fairer than the voucher scheme it replaces because it does not depend on employers offering the scheme, pays per hour of childcare so parents who work longer are not disadvantaged, and pays per child so single parents are not disadvantaged.
More information can be found on the Childcare Choices website: (https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/).
Assisting parents with childcare in these ways will help people into work, support families with the cost of living, and ensure every child has the opportunity of a high quality early education.