Expansion of childcare support from April

From April 2024, parents in England will experience a significant boost in free childcare support, thanks to a phased extension of existing schemes. These changes aim to alleviate financial burdens on families while facilitating workforce participation. In our latest blog, the Personal Tax team at LWA delves into the details of this expansion to help you understand how it could benefit you and your little ones.


Childcare support currently available

At present, free childcare hours in England vary based on factors such as the child's age and the parents' employment status. Working families with children aged three to four are eligible for 30 hours of free childcare, while all parents of three to four-year-olds, and some parents of two-year-olds receiving specific benefits, can access 15 hours of free childcare.


What is the planned expansion of childcare support?

The decision to extend childcare support was initially unveiled during the Spring Budget of 2023, setting the stage for a phased rollout over the subsequent years. This has now been confirmed to be rolled out over the next two years as follows:


Changes to childcare support in April 2024

Working parents of two-year-olds will become eligible for 15 hours of free childcare, marking the first step in this progressive enhancement.


Changes to childcare support in September 2024

Another milestone will be reached as working parents of children aged nine months to two years gain access to 15 hours of free childcare, further broadening the scope of support.


Changes to childcare support in September 2025

The culmination of this expansion will occur when working parents of children aged nine months to school age can claim a substantial 30 hours of free childcare, significantly easing the financial strain on families with young children.


How can I apply for the new childcare support scheme?

Understanding and accessing childcare support can seem daunting, but resources are available to guide you through the application process. The Childcare Choices website provides comprehensive information and guidance, ensuring that eligible families can make the most of the available support.

To find out if you’re eligible and if you can benefit from the expansion to the childcare support in England, visit childcarechoices.gov.uk/upcoming-changes-to-childcare-support 

It's crucial to note that these changes apply exclusively to England. Different childcare support schemes are in place in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, each tailored to the unique needs and policies of those regions.


Why is childcare support changing?

The phased extension of free childcare support in England represents a significant step towards alleviating financial pressures on families and encouraging workforce participation. By expanding eligibility criteria and increasing the number of free hours available, these changes aim to provide crucial assistance to parents, ensuring that childcare costs are no longer a barrier to employment or education. 


Make the most of LWA’s advice

If you would like to stay informed, explore your options, and make the most of the support available to you and your family including tax reliefs and tax savings, email our Personal Tax team to mail@lwaltd.com or call 0161 905 1801 in our South Manchester office or 01925 830 830 in Warrington.