Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for allowing this urgent question, which gives me the opportunity to highlight the Conservative Government’s determination to support as many families as possible with access to high-quality, affordable childcare and early-years education. We are investing a record amount: our support will total £6 billion per year by 2020. My Department is committed to ensuring that all three and four-year-olds have access to free childcare. All parents, regardless of their income and employment status, are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare for their three and four-year-olds; take-up of that universal entitlement is 95%. In addition, take-up of 15 hours of free childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds is rising, and it is fantastic that more than 70% of eligible two-year-olds are benefiting from this.
During the autumn, I will closely monitor delivery of all free childcare entitlements to ensure continued improvements to all our offers for parents and providers. I will continue to work closely with Her Majesty’s Treasury Ministers to ensure that parents can access the HMRC-run childcare service smoothly. The majority of parents have successfully applied using the childcare service, but some parents experienced difficulties accessing the service through the system by the
I am pleased to report that this is yet another key manifesto pledge delivered for working families.