The new Childcare Bill – 30 hours of free childcare
The newly introduced Childcare Bill means that parents are set to benefit from 30 hours of free childcare. The rollout of the scheme is due to start with pilot areas offering 30 hours’ of free places from September 2016. This means that the government will double free childcare available for all working parents of 3 and 4-year olds from 15 to 30 hours a week – available to up to 600,000 families and worth around £5,000 a year – including the £2,500 families can already save from existing free childcare offers.
More than a million families are already benefiting from 15 hours week of free childcare for 3 and 4-year olds, alongside around 160,000 of the most disadvantaged two year olds. Many of the details of the new scheme are not yet clear. The existing 3 and 4-year-old offer is a universal one, with nearly 90% of children of that age group accessing it.
The extra 15 hours are for children from families where both parents are working. It is not clear how much or how long parents will have to work in order to qualify for the extra childcare time. The government has committed to increase the average childcare funding rates in order to pay for the extra hours. Let’s wait and see!