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Helping with the cost of childcare

Now the summer holidays are upon us it is a great time to think of childcare costs and saving you and your family money.  Currently there are a number of schemes available to parents to help with the cost of childcare. However the Government is closing one of these schemes in October, so now is the time to work out your options and enrol.

Childcare Vouchers

Childcare vouchers are paid via salary sacrifice, through your employer if they offer the scheme. You can take up to £55 a week or £243 a month of your wages as childcare vouchers, and you would not pay tax or National Insurance on this. The childcare vouchers scheme was originally planned to close to new applicants on 5 April 2018; however this has been pushed back to 4 October 2018. If you are enrolled in the childcare voucher scheme before the closing date to new applicants you are able to use the vouchers to help pay childcare costs. The Government have not currently announced any plans to discontinue this scheme for those enrolled at 4 October 2018.

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare allows eligible parents to open an online childcare account to pay for registered childcare. For every £8 the parent pays in the government will add an extra £2. The Government ‘top-up’ is up to a maximum of £2,000 per child, per year (£4,000 for a disabled child). Payments will then be made from your online childcare account to your registered childcare provider. Tax-free childcare can also be used in conjunction with the free 15 and 30 hour schemes.

15 & 30 Hours Free Childcare

Families in England with three and four year old children can receive a number of free hours of childcare. The 15 hours scheme is available to all families in England with three and four year old children. This gives 15 hours free childcare a week for 38 weeks a year (term-time). Some providers will allow you to ‘stretch’ the hours over 52 weeks, using fewer hours per week. The 30 hours free childcare scheme works in a similar way but eligibility will depend on your earnings.

Further information

For more information on any of these schemes we would suggest visiting the Government’s Childcare Choices website. This website has full details on getting support with childcare costs as well as tax credits for childcare and support while you study.


Jeanette White



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