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.
A petition on the Government petitions website to keep Childcare Vouchers open received over 119,000 signatures from parents, employers and childcare providers, and was debated in Parliament in January 2018.
There continues to be 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.
Previous legacy plans intended to close Childcare Vouchers to all new entrants and any parent changing employer in April 2018. However, following the UK wide campaign to keep the scheme open alongside Tax-Free Childcare, the Government announced a six-month extension to the scheme on 13 March 2018.
As a result of concerns raised across the House of Commons about the April closure of Childcare Vouchers, the Government agreed to keep the scheme open to address issues raised in the debate.
The announcement was widely well-received and poses a unique opportunity to implement a new approach; securing the long-term future of Childcare Vouchers to ensure it can be used alongside Tax-Free Childcare as part of a comprehensive and flexible pack of childcare support for all working families.