Millions more parents set to get 30 hours free childcare in Budget  with expansion for one-year-olds | The Sun

PARENTS of one-year-olds are expected to get 30 hours of free childcare in tomorrow's Budget in a huge change.

Jeremy Hunt is set to extend help in a bid to get more Brits back to work to boost the economy.

Under major plans being signed off tonight, the parents of one and two-year-olds will get 30 hours of free childcare a week in future – for the first time ever.

And those looking after three year olds will get extra help too, the Guardian reported.

The Chancellor is also expected to hike the hourly rate paid by the Government to childcare providers, who have long said that the help they get doesn't actually cover their costs.

More wraparound childcare through schools is also expected to be announced.

The policy is set to cost a whopping £4billion – and the Treasury had initially thought it would be too expensive to announce at tomorrow's statement.

The system will replicate the means-testing of the existing childcare offer for three and four year olds- meaning that higher earners won't be able to access it in full.

At the moment all parents of three and four year-olds get at least 15 hours a week of free help – no matter how much parents earn.

And they can get 30 hours of free childcare if both parents earn at least 16 hours a week on the minimum wage – up to a total of £100,000.

He's set to reveal a package of measures tomorrow to get people back into work, including:

  • Pension shake-ups so that wealthier, older workers can save more into their pensions without being taxed
  • Universal Credit will be paid upfront rather than in arrears to help parents get back to work without going into debt
  • Extra childcare help will see the Universal Credit rates go up for the first time in years

The Chancellor has admitted that the huge costs of childcare are stopping parents from taking up work.

Ministers want to cut the number of people who are economically inactive – out of work and on benefits, or retired.

He is planning a series of “skills bootcamps” to tempt retirees back into work.

There will also be an expansion to the “mid-life MOT” scheme where people are offered financial advice to see whether they can actually afford to retire early.

Elsewhere in the Budget, we're expecting energy bill help to continue at the current rate of £2,500.

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Smokers and drinkers are to be clobbered by extra taxes.

But thankfully for drivers, it's expected that the Chancellor will freeze fuel duty and keep the 5p cut.

Help with childcare costs

There are a range of tax breaks and grants to help make childcare more affordable. 

You can usually use them for care like registered childminders, nannies, playschemes, nurseries and holiday clubs.

It’s worth checking the government’s handy childcare costs calculator to find out which scheme will save you the most money, as not all of them can be used at the same time.

Tax-free childcare

You can get up to £500 every three months – up to a maximum of £2,000 a year – for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. 

If your child is disabled, it's even more – £1,000 every three months, up to £4,000 per year.

To receive the tax-free benefit you need to create an online childcare account.

For every £8 you pay into this account, the government will add £2 which you can use to pay your approved provider. 

You should bear in mind that you can’t claim tax-free childcare if you receive working tax credit, child tax credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.

Your tax credits will stop immediately if you successfully apply for tax-free childcare. You will also have to cancel your Universal Credit and childcare vouchers.

Use the government’s calculator tool to work out which option will work best for you.

Universal Credit childcare costs

You can claim back 85% of childcare costs up to £646 for one child or £1,108 for two or more up to August 31 following the child’s 16th birthday.

You will have to pay your childcare costs yourself up front and then claim the money back through Universal Credit – here's the government's guide on how to do that.

15 or 30 hours free childcare

All three to four year old children in England are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare – amounting to 570 hours per year – from the term after their 3rd birthday.

The free allowance is usually taken as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year, but it is possible to take it at a time that suits you.

The free early education and childcare must be with an approved childcare provider and stops when your child starts school.

Working parents may be eligible to get up to 30 hours free childcare if they are working at least 16 hours a week on average and earning the National Minimum Wage or more.

Check out what you could get and apply online at

Free childcare for 2 year olds

Parents living in England and claiming certain benefits can access some free childcare for their two-year-olds, including:

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  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

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