Supporting parents back into work

This year, the Government is delivering on promises made in the 2015 Conservative manifesto to introduce Tax-Free Childcare to support parents back into work, and give working parents of three and four-year-olds 30 hours of free childcare a week.

As well as existing support for childcare costs, this new childcare offer improves affordability of childcare for working families in Crawley and throughout the country.

More than two million working families will be eligible for the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme. This will provide parents with 20 per cent support towards their childcare costs, up to £10,000 per year.

This will ensure that parents will be able to receive up to £2,000 in childcare support each year for every child under the age of 12; this support is doubled to £4,000 per year for disabled children under the age of 17.

Currently, 15 hours of free childcare are provided for all parents of three and four-year-olds in England. From September 2017, this will be doubled to 30 hours of free childcare for working parents, worth around £5,000 per child per year for those taking up the full 30 hours.

This will benefit around 400,000 working families, through increased support for childcare costs and helping to remove the barriers to work.

As well as new schemes; families on lower incomes can already receive more generous support through the childcare element of tax credits, where parents can reclaim up to 70 per cent of eligible costs. Under Universal Credit, this support will be extended to even more working families who will be able to reclaim up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, a change which will benefit half a million families.

This offer encompasses the work of the Treasury, the Department for Work & Pensions and the Department for Education, as recognition of the challenges faced by working families. By 2020, a record amount will be being spent on childcare support, rising to more than £6 billion each year.

As we approach Good Friday I wish Crawley a happy Easter.

Henry Smith MP