Securing affordable and quality childcare

One of the most important tasks for working families is to secure affordable and quality childcare, which is why I welcome the latest figures which show more than 4,700 children in West Sussex are benefiting from the Government’s 30 hours free childcare offer.

Working families save around £5,000 per year per child and more than 200,000 children benefited nationally in the scheme’s first term. There are now nearly 300,000 children in 30 hours places in England.

By 2020, around £6 billion will be spent helping parents with the cost of childcare. In addition to the 30 hours scheme, there is also funding for 15 hours of free childcare for disadvantaged 2 year olds and support for parents through Tax Free Childcare, which provides up to £2,000 per child per year to help towards childcare costs.

Independent evaluation of pilot sites found that access to 30 hours of free childcare not only improved family finances, but supported a better work-life balance and enabled parents to extend their working hours if they wish to do so.

The offer, along with the raising of the tax-free Personal Allowance and the introduction and increasing of the National Living Wage (NLW), is just one scheme brought in to help with the cost of living.

Further increases to the Personal Allowance mean that this April, 31 million people will see their income tax bill cut by over £1,000 since 2010. A total of 4 million of the lowest paid will be taken out of paying income tax altogether.

This week I voted in favour of measures to help working families which will see 50,000 more children become eligible to receive free school meals.

As a result of increases to the Personal Allowance threshold and NLW coming into effect from April, a full-time worker earning the NLW in Crawley will be taking home over £3,800 more per year after tax compared to a full-time minimum wage worker in 2010.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency