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Children: Day Care

Department for Education written question – answered on 9th May 2019.

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Photo of Paul Farrelly Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to extend the number of free childcare hours for low-income families as a means of tackling social inequality.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

This government is committed to helping working families with accessible, affordable childcare and offers a broad range of childcare support. The government has no plans to extend the package of free childcare entitlement schemes.

Supporting parents who want to work, with the cost of childcare, is important. That is why the government already offers a package of schemes: all 3 and 4–year-olds and the most disadvantaged 2-year-olds can access 15 hours a week of early education. From September 2017, this government doubled the childcare entitlement for working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds to 30 hours a week - saving parents up to £5,000 per year in total if they use the full 30 hours of free childcare available. 30 hours free childcare helps a wide range of families, for example, a lone parent only has to earn from just under £7,000 a year to be able to access 30 hours of free childcare and a couple from just under £14,000.

Tackling social inequality is not just about 30 hours free childcare. The government is committed to supporting disadvantaged children, for example, through the 2-year-old entitlement, the early years pupil premium and the actions announced in ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’. We will continue to track the outcomes of disadvantaged children, where the gap continues to close. Tax-Free Childcare provides additional financial help from government to help with any additional costs. Eligible parents can also claim up to 85% of their childcare costs through universal credit.

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