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Upcoming Changes to Childcare Support

Frequently Asked Questions about the changes to childcare support

Major changes are coming to make it easier for parents with childcare responsibilities to move into or take on more paid work. Starting from April 2024, existing childcare support will be expanded in phases. The changes are being introduced gradually to make sure that providers can meet the needs of more families.

This means that: 

From April 2024:
15 hours childcare - Age 2
From September 2024:
15 hours childcare - Ages 9 - 23 months
From September 2025:
30 hours childcare - Ages 9 - 23 months
  • For eligible working families in England
  • Each parent earning under £100k per year and at least £167 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage)
  • With a 2-year-old child
  • 15 hours of childcare or early education for 38 weeks
  • A total of 570 hours per year, that you can use flexibly with one or more childcare providers
  • For eligible working families in England
  • Earning under £100k and at least £167 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage)
  • With a child between 9 and 23 months old
  • 15 hours of childcare or early education for 38 weeks
  • A total of 570 hours per year, that you can use flexibly with one or more childcare providers
  • For eligible working families in England
  • Earning under £100k and at least £167 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage)
  • With a child between 9 and 23 months old
  • 30 hours of childcare or early education for 38 weeks
  • A total of 1,140 hours per year, that you can use flexibly with one or more childcare providers

 

A child will be entitled to the additional funded hours from the term after both of the following conditions are satisfied: 

  • the child has attained the specified age of eligibility
  • the child's parent has a current positive determination of eligibility from HMRC i.e., a valid eligibility code

Like the existing offer, depending on your provider, these hours can be used over 38 weeks of the year (during school term time), or up to 52 weeks if you use fewer than your total hours per week.

Existing childcare support packages

The eligibility criteria of the different forms of government childcare support packages that parents can access are as follows:

Tax - Free ChildcareUniversal Credit Childcare15 hours childcare - Age 2 receiving additional government support15 hours childcare - Ages 3 & 430 hours childcare - Ages 3 & 4
  • For working families, including the self-employed, in the UK
  • Earning under £100k and at least £167 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage) each
  • Who aren't receiving Tax Credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers
  • For every £8 they pay into an online account, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child per year (or up to £4,000 per child if disabled)

Can be accessed through your registered providers and childminders who have activated their Tax-Free Childcare accounts.

  • For working families claiming Universal Credit, in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has separate arrangements. Eligibility criteria apply
  • Both parents working - unless one of the allowable exceptions is met
  • With children usually under 17 (including disabled)
  • Up to 85% of eligible childcare costs can be reclaimed
  • Upfront support is available to fund your first month's payment. Ask your Work Coach for more information
  • Tax-Free Childcare is not available if also claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.

Can be accessed through registered providers or childminders.

  • For families in England, receiving some forms of additional government support. Visit gov.uk for further information
  • With 2-year-old children
  • 15 hours of childcare or early education for 38 weeks
  • A total of 570 hours per year, that they can use flexibly with one or more childcare provider

If you are a childcare provider, speak to your local authority if you are interested in delivering the entitlements.

  • For all families in England with 3 and 4-year-old children
  • 15 hours of childcare or early education for 38 weeks
  • A total of 570 hours per year, that they can use flexibly with one or more childcare provider

If you are a childcare provider, speak to your local authority if you are interested in delivering the entitlements.

  • For working families in England with 3 and 4-year-old children
  • 30 hours of childcare or early education for 38 weeks
  • A total of 1,140 hours per year, that they can use flexibly with one or more childcare provider

If you are a childcare provider, speak to your local authority if you are interested in delivering the entitlements.

 

For further information about upcoming changes to childcare support, visit the Childcare Choices Website.

Visit the Education Hub which provides further information about how the government plans to tackle the cost of childcare. 

To check out your eligibility for current Childcare offers, you can input your details on the childcare choices website and complete a quick search of offers https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/

For local information from St Helens Borough Council, please visit the following pages: