Massive boost to childcare payments marks first step in largest ever expansion of childcare
Universal Credit’s maximum childcare payments will rise nearly 50% – up to £1,630 per month – from 28 June
- Additional support worth up to £522 a month for families
- Many parents will get help from DWP immediately with their first bill – instead of in arrears – to help them manage their budgets
- Comes alongside plans to boost childcare workforce to deliver historic expansion of free childcare from nine months to the start of school
As part of the Government’s biggest ever expansion to childcare provision, low-income families will be able to access increased childcare support worth a total of £900 million from 28 June.
Later this month, the Department for Work and Pensions will raise the amount that parents in Great Britain can claim back monthly for their childcare costs on Universal Credit up to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two or more children. This is a rise of 47% from the previous limits of £646 for one child or £1,108 for two or more children.
At the same time, the Government will help eligible parents cover the costs for the first month’s childcare when they enter work or significantly increase their hours, removing one of the most significant barriers to parents working and helping to grow the economy.
Those parents will also receive up to 85% of their childcare costs back before their next month’s bills are due – meaning they should have money to pay one month in advance going forward.
Mel Stride, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:
"These changes will help thousands of parents progress their career without compromising the quality of the care that their children receive.
"By helping more parents to re-enter and progress in work, we will be able to cut inactivity and help grow the economy."
To boost the early years workforce and encourage more people to consider childcare as a valuable and rewarding career, the Department for Education is also launching a consultation in England today to remove unnecessary burdens the childcare sector face. This follows extensive engagement with the sector to understand how they can be supported to deploy and train up their staff most effectively.
This is alongside a package of measures to make sure the Government’s historic expansion of free childcare is delivered successfully – with 15 free hours available for working parents of two-year-olds from April 2024, 15 free hours from nine months to the start of school available from September 2024, rising to 30 free hours from September 2025.
From September, the hourly rates paid to providers to deliver free childcare for two-year-olds will increase by 30% from an average rate of £6 to £8. This represents a significant increase in funding for early years.
Government will also launch a new recruitment campaign early next year to attract and retain talent and consider how to introduce new accelerated apprenticeship and degree apprenticeship routes so everyone from junior staff to senior leaders can easily move into a career in the sector.
Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing Claire Coutinho said:
"We are supporting families with the largest ever expansion of free childcare, making sure that places will be available for parents who need them. This will save a working parent using 30 hours a week an average of £6,500.
"We have already announced plans to boost the amount government pays childcare providers, and now we’re knocking down barriers to recruiting and retaining the talented staff that provide such wonderful care for our children."
This package represents a key pillar of the Government’s drive to reduce economic inactivity. In total, the Government is investing £3.5 billion over five years to boost workforce participation, including helping as many people as possible, such as parents, into work which will in turn grow the economy.