Stuart Anderson MP has urged local parents not to miss out on the opportunity to get up to £2,000 a year to help with the cost of holiday clubs, before and after-school clubs, childminders and nurseries, and other accredited childcare schemes. The Government’s 20 per cent tax-free childcare top-up scheme is available for children aged up to 11, or 17 if the child has a disability. For every £8 working parents pay into their childcare account, an extra £2 will be added, up to £2,000 per child per year and maximum of £4,000 for children with disabilities per year. Up to 1.3 million families are said to be eligible.
The offer can be used in conjunction with the 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds and to help pay for any extra hours that parents want to take up. Research shows the universal entitlement to 15 hours' free childcare for all three and four-year-olds and additional 15 hours for eligible working parents of three and four-year-olds is helping hardworking families to save up to £5,000 on childcare per year.
Stuart also welcomed the introduction of an ‘England for Everyone’ Fund. The investment, worth £600,000, will provide holidays and trips for more than 800 families facing difficulties at this time, including those struggling financially, with illness, or facing isolation or bereavement. The Family Holiday Charity will work with registered referrers to identify families most in need of this support. In research undertaken by the charity, 84% reported children were less isolated and getting more involved in their community since returning home. Through the package of Government support, children could discover new creatures in rock pools, fly kites for the first time, or build sandcastles on the beach.
Alongside the Plan for Jobs, this support has been designed to ease pressures on families and to help manage the day-to-day costs of raising a family. In Parliament, Stuart has called on the Chancellor to ensure that vulnerable households continue to be supported in light of pressures created by global events including the rise in wholesale gas prices and disruptions to global supply chains. Stuart welcomed the expanded range of support put forward by the Chancellor, in addition to the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payments, and the £500 million Household Support Fund. The Government has also extended the Holiday Activity and Food Programme with £200 million per year to provide healthy meals and enriching activities for children. Parents can find more information about financial help available from the Government with the costs of childcare at www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs.
Stuart Anderson MP said: “I believe that childcare costs should not be a barrier to work, and so I welcome the Government’s ongoing commitment to helping parents get back into work by ensuring access to high-quality childcare. The 20 per cent tax-free childcare top-up scheme is one of many ways in which the Government is supporting households to raise their incomes and keep more of what they earn. I would urge as many parents as possible to explore and take up the offer of support available.”