Children: Day Care

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 30th June 2022.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the maximum amount claimable for childcare costs under Universal Credit compared with regional increases in the cost of childcare.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

No such assessment has been made.

In Universal Credit, working families can claim up to 85%, increased from 70% in legacy benefits, of their eligible registered childcare costs each month regardless of the hours worked. This equates to a maximum support of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children.

The current childcare offer is comprehensive, broad ranging and reflects different family circumstances, covering children over a range of ages. We believe that helping parents with their childcare costs is one of the best ways to help people into work, support families with the cost of living, and ensure every child has the opportunity of a high-quality early education.

The UC childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes 15 hours per week free childcare for disadvantaged 2-year-olds and 3-&4-year-olds. This doubles to 30 hours per week free childcare for working parents of 3-&4-year-olds. The UC childcare element can be used to top up a claimant’s eligible free childcare hours if more hours are worked and childcare required. This offer means that for some claimants’ childcare costs should not present any barriers to entering work.

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