Childcare Vouchers close today despite overwhelming opposition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Despite overwhelming political, business, and public opposition, the government will close Childcare Vouchers to new entrants tonight (midnight 4th October 2018), leaving thousands of working families worse off.

Following concerns raised by every opposition party, stakeholder groups, employers of all sizes, and parents, the government postponed the closure of the Childcare Voucher scheme for six months – to 4th October 2018 – in March.

However, despite overwhelming support for the scheme to remain open, including a recommendation from the Treasury Committee to government to not close the scheme without an analysis of winners and losers, government will today continue with its decision to close the vital childcare support scheme.

The campaign to #SaveChildcareVouchers has seen:

  • 278 employers, representing over 140,000 employees signed our business pledge to keep Childcare Vouchers, open including Barnardo’s, Kettle Foods, the University of Southampton, and NHS Grampian.
  • 69 MPs sign a second Early Day Motion, urging government to keep the scheme open until a more thorough analysis is completed of the ‘winners and losers’.
  • 100,000 people sign a petition to keep Childcare Vouchers open beyond the original closing date of April 2018.

With childcare costs rising faster than wages, a large majority of parents find their decision to work dependent on the availability of a range of high quality and affordable childcare. According to Childcare Voucher Provider Association analysis (CVPA) analysis, no working parent spending the national average on childcare will be better off on Tax-Free Childcare than they would be on Childcare Vouchers, or a combination of Vouchers and Tax Credits.

While some families will be better off on Tax-Free Childcare, many who could access support through Childcare Vouchers, will be ineligible.

Parents who will lose out because of the closure say:

I’m starting a new job in a different city in October and will be unable to join Childcare Vouchers before it closes. As a newly single mum after a marriage breakdown, the closure of the scheme is yet another unfortunate event for me and my daughter. I’m sure there will be many others who don’t yet realise the impact the closure of the scheme will have on them until they change employer.”

  • Jade, Yorkshire

 “My husband has just started a new job and unfortunately missed the payroll cut off to join Childcare Vouchers. This means we’ve now lost the childcare support we had through his previous job. As I’m a self-employed mum, we are currently eligible for Tax-Free Childcare, but I might not always have a job and could soon become ineligible. This didn’t matter when we received Vouchers – it gave us the flexible support we needed.”

  • Samantha, Cumbria

 “I had no idea of the impact the scheme’s closure would have, but when I received a new job offer, I used the government calculator and found out I’d lose out on hundreds of pounds towards my childcare costs if I change employment. As I would change employer after the schemes closure, I would not be entitled to sign up to Childcare Vouchers at my new employer. With other financial losses, I have been forced to stay with my current employer despite having limited ability to develop as a professional female engineer, whilst also being a single mum. I will also be forced to suffer the increasing negative impact on my mental health caused by issues with my current employer.”

  • Emma, East Midlands

Jacquie Mills, Chair of the CVPA, said:

“It is disappointing the government is going ahead with its decision to close Childcare Vouchers to new entrants today. This is a vital form of childcare support that working parents rely on, and for employers who’s staff who would struggle to manage work and home life without it.

 While Tax-Free Childcare will benefit many families, thousands will be worse off.  Parents who change job after 4th October, staff on rotation such as in the health service, and parents to be, are now going to miss out on the support offered by Childcare Vouchers.

 The reality of rising childcare costs will persist, and the closure of Childcare Vouchers today will only increase the financial pressures facing working families”.

Notes for editors:

  • Beatrice Allen on 020 3102 3626 or at beatriceallen@wacomms.co.uk
  • The CVPA is the industry association established to represent the views of childcare voucher provider companies. CVPA members establish self-regulation of the childcare voucher industry, providing a benchmark in terms of quality of service employers can expect.
  • The campaign to #SaveChildcareVouchers was launched in May 2018 ahead of the planned closure to the Childcare Voucher scheme on 4thOctober 2018. It urges parents, employers, and childcare providers to lobby their MP to urge the government to keep the scheme open.

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