Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Are You Ready for Childcare Changes?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Are You Ready for Childcare Changes?

Article excerpt

Byline: MARTIN LEWIS

PARENTS take note! There is a new kid on the block that could mean up to PS2,000 to help towards childcare costs.

The Tax-Free Childcare scheme launches this month, and is to be rolled out to everyone across the year. Yet with a range of childcare help already out there, you need to ensure you pick the right one.

First, see if you're due free childcare. If not, go for free cash towards it. If not, grab a scheme that effectively discounts the cost.

The definition of childcare for this purpose is specifically Ofsted (or equivalent in the rest of the UK) registered nurseries, nannies, childminders, after-school clubs, or summer school (even if that's all they go to). For full details see mse.me/childcarecosts.

Here's a quick rundown 1 ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR WHAT WILL BE UP TO 30 HOURS A WEEK OF FREE CHILDCARE? CURRENTLY, in England for at least 38 weeks a year everyone with a child aged three or four (or two if you have low income), is entitled to 15 hours a week of free state or private nursery childcare.

From September this rises to 30 hours a week, but only if you earn at least PS115 a week (if a couple both parents must) but neither parent earns over PS100,000 a year.

Similar schemes, are available across the UK.

2 PAYING FOR CHILDCARE? ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR CHILDCARE TAX CREDITS (FREE CASH). IF YOU pay for childcare, for a child up to age 15, and are a single parent working 16+ hours a week, or a couple BOTH working 16+ hours a week, with total household income under PS40,000, check if you're entitled to childcare tax credits. This doesn't mean you will be eligible, just that it's worth calling the tax credit hotline on 0345 300 3900 to check.

Tax credits are just a cash payment into your bank account, and they can be big, with typical payouts around PS3,000 a year.

It's worth noting that the real name of childcare tax credit is the 'childcare element of working tax credit' (totally different to child tax credits). …

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