To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people who claimed support for childcare through universal credit in the last 12 months also applied for (a) advance payment of that benefit or (b) the flexible support fund.
The Government is committed to helping parents into work and childcare costs should not be a barrier to this.
Universal Credit pays up to 85% of childcare costs, compared to 70% in legacy benefits and can be claimed up to a month before starting a job. In cases where people need to pay for childcare upfront, prior to starting work, Work Coaches can use the Flexible Support Fund to meet these costs until their first wage is received.
For the 110,000 Universal Credit households with at least one childcare element in payment from December 2018 to November 2019 inclusive, 52,000 (47%) have received an advance payment.
The reasons for advances are not recorded, therefore these could have been utilised for many reasons.
The Department does not hold a breakdown of its Flexible Support Fund expenditure for childcare for the last 12 months.
Figures are rounded to the nearest 1,000.
Figures include all types of advances, including advances paid after the first assessment period.
Figures provided to November 2019 are in line with published statistics relating to households on Universal Credit.