Working parents can apply for two new government childcare schemes launching this year - Tax-Free Childcare which begins immediately and 30 hours free childcare which starts in September.
This means that working parents of children, who will be aged under 4 on 31 August 2017, can now apply through the new digital childcare service for Tax-Free Childcare and receive a government top-up of £2 for every £8 that they pay into their Tax-Free Childcare account. All parents of disabled children (under 17 years old) will also be able to apply for Tax-Free Childcare.
In addition, parents of 2-3 year olds, who will be eligible for a 30 hours free childcare place in September, can apply through the childcare service and start arranging a place with their childcare provider.
The Childcare Choices website www.childcarechoices.gov.uk provides information on the government's childcare schemes and explains how parents can pre-register or apply. It also includes a childcare calculator to show eligible families how much they could receive.
For parents across the UK, Tax-Free Childcare will cut childcare costs by up to £2000 per year for each child under 12 years old, or £4000 per year for disabled children under 17 years old. The programme will be rolled out through the year, with all eligible parents able to receive it by the end of 2017.
From September, working parents of three and four year olds living in England will also be entitled to the new 30 hours free childcare offer, worth around £5000 per child. Parents will only need to make a single application for both schemes when their children become eligible.