Government says scheme could help 2.5m working families
A government scheme, planned to start in 2015, could enable working parents to claim back up to £1,200 in childcare costs.
Parents will be allowed to claim back up to 20 per cent out of £6,000 – the average yearly price of a childcare place. At first this is planned to only cover children aged up to five, but would eventually include children under 12.
This would replace the current employer-supported childcare voucher scheme provided by only five per cent of employers.
To be eligible both parents have to work (in a two-parent family), and each parent must be earning a salary of less than £150k a year.
The government say the scheme could help 2.5m working families, but the Labour opposition say parents would be disappointed they didn’t get help sooner.
Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: ‘Parents will be disappointed that three years into this government they will not get any help with childcare costs for another two and a half years.
‘While working parents won’t get any help before the next election, David Cameron is happy to help millionaires with a tax cut now.’
He added the measure would not make up for the cuts the government has already made to support for children.
Anand Shulka, chief executive of national childcare charity, the Daycare Trust, said the ‘almost universal’ benefit shoukd be welcomed, but added that there would be ‘losers from the scheme’.
‘If we were designing a system, we would want to see something that gave more support, earlier than 2015, to people on lower incomes.
‘The problem with a targeted system is it is difficult to administer and doesn’t have the same buy-in as a scheme that offers support as widely as possible.’
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