Good News for all working parents… childcare vouchers to stay…
The government made an announcement this week that its new form of help with childcare costs called “Tax Free Childcare” due to be launched Autumn 2015 will now be delayed until early 2017.
This form of help with childcare costs, is not in my opinion as user friendly, resilient, transparent or even as helpful as the current childcare vouchers. This opinion has already been echoed by a number of journalists, nursery groups and parents, despite TFC not coming to market for another 22 months or so.
Once TFC launches, parents who are already using the existing childcare vouchers will be able to continue to use vouchers or opt to use the new TFC instead. However all working people who become parents after the launch of TFC will only be able to use TFC and not childcare vouchers. And this is where people will miss out……
Parents will only be able to use TFC if both parents are working. Currently once a couple have a child the parent who is still working can start receiving childcare vouchers and save them up to pay towards future childcare costs.
The new TFC benefit is to be run through NS & I and allows both parents, grandparents or anyone to pay into the account that is then topped up by the government with another 20%. As yet, the government have not announced how the money in this account will be reconciled, monitored and ultimately who will pay for the parents funds to reach their childs carers.
The government are suggesting that parents using this form of help with childcare will be required to re- register on the NS & I website every 3 months to stay in the scheme.
The new proposal of TFC does not include the employer in the way that the current childcare voucher benefit does. This is a shame as childcare vouchers allow employers to actively help their staff with the cost of returning to work by saving them 32% or 42% of their costs not just 20% as is the case with TFC.
Full details are still not available from the government on how TFC will actually work and who will pay for monies to be transferred. Will it be the parent or the carer who foots the bill?
Whatever happens, our advice to all working parents is to sign up to childcare vouchers NOW and give yourself the choice.
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