Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Government money to pay for childcare

Hopefully good news from today's budget.

My two monkeys - Sophie & Ollie
The Government are set to announce that working families, such as mine, will be able to claim money towards child care costs up to £1200 a year.

This will be somewhat invaluable to those on low incomes.

Taking my family as an example, in July we'll have both of our children in day care for three days a week allowing Sam to go back to work and add to our income and then split our days off so that one of us will look after the kids on four days a week. The problem is that it will cost around £300s a month each.

With train fares, rising food costs and utilities that will leave us pretty much cleaned out at the end of the month. Child tax credits do help endlessly but if we could have extra money we could spend money on other things including much needed house repair (stop our bathroom ending up in our kitchen or double glazing or central heating that sort of thing). Without this we may have seen Sam have to give up work as it becomes more uneconomical to work.

This will be true for many across the country who are in a similar boat.

Though as Sam pointed out - it is ok to say people can go back to work but does that mean there are jobs to go back into...

Any way, here's what Nick had to say:

The Liberal Democrats set out in Government to help the millions of ordinary families that face crushingly high childcare costs each year.

Today I have announced that these families will soon be able to get up to £1200 off the cost of childcare for every child.

I'm sure you will agree that's much needed relief for many in these difficult times.
It will help parents make their own choices about how and when they return to work. Figures show that more than half of stay at home parents would rather work if good quality and affordable childcare was available. Many more would be able to increase the hours they work too.

That's the kind of fairer society we are fighting for.

The scheme is simple. The Government will pay 20% of your childcare costs – up to an upper limit of £6000 of total costs, i.e. £1200 per child per year. Parents simply need to open an online voucher account - For every 80p they pay in, the Government will add in an extra 20p to within the limits set. 20% is the same as the basic rate of tax – so we are effectively offering tax free childcare.

To ensure we help everyone – people on low as well as higher incomes – we've also announced that many working families receiving universal credit will have 85% of their childcare costs covered in future (up from 70% in the benefits system today.)  Those who earn enough to pay tax will be eligible for this extra support so we can make sure work pays. A great boost to help parents on low incomes back into work.

Don't forget, we couldn't have done this without you.

Together we are making the Liberal Democrat voice in Government stronger and more effective than our critics ever believed possible.

Whether it's on childcare, Ed Davey's work to cut energy bills, Steve Webb's work on a flat rate pension of about £140 a week or Danny Alexander cutting income tax bills by £600, we are making a real difference across Government.


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