Avoiding the brewing storm

This isn’t just about seizing the opportunity, but about preventing the impending crisis if we don’t.

The Department for Education’s figures show that Tax-Free Childcare operating alone would result in reverse-redistribution.

A world with Tax-Free Childcare and without Childcare Vouchers would give the average family in London three times as much support as those in the North East – £905 vs £312 per year.

There have already been a number of concerning headlines regarding the Childcare Choices website, through which Tax-Free Childcare is run. A quick search of #taxfreechildcare on Twitter will show the strength of animosity around the issue. And this is the case with only a minority of parents registered.

Theresa May quote

With the legacy plans, Childcare Vouchers will close to all new parents and any parent changing employer from April 2018. This will lead to a surge of parents applying to Tax-Free Childcare.

Current and prior experience suggests that there is a high risk of this causing significant issues. There have been a number of technical issues with the roll-out to date and parents with older children are still unable to access the scheme.

At the very least keeping Childcare Vouchers open past April 2018 provides a safety net when parents and Government may need it most.

A petition on the Government petitions website to keep Childcare Vouchers open has surpassed 100,000 signatures and a debate will now take place on Monday 15 January 2018 at 4.30pm in Westminster Hall. There is a genuine opportunity for the Government to get on the front foot ahead of this debate with a compelling vision, but the window of opportunity is narrow.