Whilst we are all happy that the chancellor announced in the budget that additional support is being provided towards childcare costs, including up to 30 hours of free childcare for every child over the age of 9 months, you will need to be aware of the phasing of these changes and the eligibility criteria.

The new help for parents will be introduced in stages.

  • April 2024 – Two-year-olds of eligible working parents will get 15 hours of free childcare per week.
  • September 2024 – Children between 9 and 23 months will get 15 hours of free childcare if eligible.
  • September 2025 – All eligible under-5s will get 30 hours of free childcare.

To be eligible, each parent will need to earn at least the equivalent of 16-hours per week at the national minimum wage over the upcoming three-month period from when they apply.

For Universal Credit claimants, the government will also pay childcare costs in advance rather than arrears, when parents move into work or increase their hours. The maximum they can claim will also be boosted to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children, an increase of around 50%.