Flagship tax-free childcare scheme delayed

Plans for the total rollout of tax-free childcare within the UK have been delayed till March 2018 – 5 years after it was first introduced.

It comes after mother and father grappled with technical difficulties on the official website, launched in April, they should use to entry the scheme.

In a written assertion, ministers mentioned they might be staggering purposes by age of kid between now and March.

All mother and father had been supposed to have the ability to be a part of the scheme by the tip of 2017.

Underneath the scheme, the federal government will put in 20p for each 80p mother and father pay in childcare, as much as the worth of £2,000 a yr.

The federal government opened its Childcare Selections web site in April 2017.

‘Acted rapidly’

Mother and father have had to make use of it to register for each the tax-free childcare scheme and one other scheme providing free childcare to oldsters of three- and four-year-olds from September

Each had been key planks of the federal government’s efforts to make childcare extra reasonably priced, with the tax-free childcare proposal introduced by the then Childcare Minister, Liz Truss, in March 2013.

However the technical issues have meant some households have been unable to find if they’re eligible for the money-saving schemes.

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An announcement from Treasury spokesman Lord Bates mentioned the federal government had “acted rapidly” to handle the issues, which reached a peak in the summertime.

However he added that the service would now be “regularly” opened as much as mother and father of older youngsters, as his division continued to enhance the system.

“This implies we are able to handle the quantity of purposes going by means of the companies, so mother and father proceed to obtain a greater expertise and immediate eligibility responses after they apply,” he mentioned.

All eligible mother and father would be capable to apply by the tip of March subsequent yr, he added.

Neil Leitch, chief govt of the Pre-school Studying Alliance, mentioned given the issues with the web site, it was not shocking that the total rollout of the scheme was being delayed.

“That mentioned, with many households nonetheless fighting the price of childcare, mother and father who had hoped to profit from the scheme by the tip of the yr might be understandably dissatisfied by this delay,” he mentioned.

Mr Leitch known as on the federal government to speculate “what is required to ship and keep an IT system that each mother and father and childcare suppliers are in a position to make use of and depend on”.

Printed at Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:47:18 +0000