Catherine McKinnell – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the HM Treasury

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Catherine McKinnell on 2016-04-08.

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 2.77 of Budget 2016, whether eligible parents will be able to open tax-free childcare accounts prior to the launch of that scheme in early 2017.

Damian Hinds

The Government will publicise the Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme in good time ahead of its introduction through a range of digital and print channels. HMRC will also work with the childcare industry and representative groups who interact regularly with parents to raise awareness of the scheme.

HM Revenue and Customs is developing an online childcare calculator to help parents understand their eligibility for government childcare support. From early 2017, parents of the youngest children will be able to enter the scheme first, with all eligible parents brought in by the end of 2017. Parents will not be able to open childcare accounts prior to the launch of the scheme.

TFC will be straightforward and quick to apply online for the vast majority of parents. We estimate that up to 9% of the families eligible for the scheme of that population may have issues with either accessing or using the internet. HM Revenue and Customs will ensure that assistance is provided, usually by telephone, so these families do not miss out on the support available.

Tax-Free Childcare is part of the wider government childcare offer which will be worth over £6Bn per annum and together provide generous support to families on all levels of income.