Ruth George encourages Parents to sign up for Childcare Vouchers before it’s too late

On Monday 15th January, Ruth George MP took part in a Parliamentary debate, calling on the government to keep the Childcare Voucher system open.

Now the government has refused to extend the scheme, Ruth is urging any parents who may benefit from Childcare Vouchers – either now or in the future – to sign up before the scheme is closed to new applicants from 1 April 2018.  Parents who apply before that date will continue to benefit unless they leave their employer.

Childcare Vouchers are available to employees whose employer offers the scheme, and enables parents to receive up to £243 per month of their salary paid into a Childcare Voucher account, free of tax and national insurance.  Basic Rate Taxpayers save £77.70 a month or £933 a year.  If the family have high childcare bills and both parents can receive vouchers, the savings are doubled.

Over 116,000 people have signed the petition, including over 150 from High Peak.  Ruth explained why she has spoken out: “Childcare Vouchers enabled me to keep my job after maternity leave.  With two young children in nursery, we wouldn’t have been able to afford the costs otherwise, and thousands of parents are in a similar situation.

“Childcare Vouchers are more generous than the new scheme of Tax Free Childcare as you get relief from both tax at 20% and national insurance at 12%.  Although Tax Free Childcare will help parents with very high childcare costs, in practice the vast majority of parents in High Peak will be better off with Childcare Vouchers if their employer offers them.

“Childcare Vouchers can be used to pay for not just nurseries and registered childminders, but also After School Clubs and Holiday Clubs, which thousands of local parents use.  Due to rising costs, charges for childcare are rising sharply.

“If your employer offers Childcare Vouchers, and you pay for childcare now, or may do in future, I would urge you to sign up before the deadline of 1 April 2018.

“And if any employers have been considering whether to take part in a Childcare Voucher scheme, I would encourage them to join the hundreds of employers – small and large – who are applying in the final couple of months.  It’s very easy to do, and not only will you be very popular with your staff who pay childcare, you will also receive relief from Employers’ National Insurance on all the payments made into Childcare Vouchers.

“Over two thirds of employees have an employer who offers Childcare Vouchers, but if your employer will not set up a scheme, or if you are self-employed and pay tax, you should be able to benefit from Tax-Free Childcare.  The age limit for children who parents’ can apply was raised to age 9 today (Monday 15th January).  Parents of children aged up to 12 will be able to apply from March.

“If you’re not sure what childcare support you could benefit from, use the Childcare Calculator at

https://www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator

“Childcare is important for so many families, and with providers in High Peak under pressure from the underfunding of so-called “free” places for 3 and 4 year olds, it’s even more important that parents can continue to afford to support our excellent local childcare facilities.”