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Free childcare announced in the Budget

In today’s Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced he wanted to reform the childcare system in the UK.

Expensive childcare

As we mentioned in our recent article: how schools can tackle childcare, we have one of the most expensive systems in the world. Jeremy Hunt explained; “Half of non-working mothers say they would prefer to work if they could arrange suitable childcare…for many women a career break becomes a career end”.

Increased funding for childcare

As a result, the Chancellor confirmed he would increase funding paid to nurseries providing free childcare under the hours offer by £204 million from September 2023, rising to £288 million next year.

All primaries to provide wraparound care

The government also wants all primary schools to provide wraparound care between 8am and 6pm to pupils from 2026.

Many primary schools already offer breakfast and after school clubs, so these changes will affect some primary schools more than others, but we are yet to get more information on how this will be funded.

Helping families

The Chancellor also highlighted helping the 700,000 parents on Universal Credit, who could not afford the upfront payments necessary to access subsidised childcare. Notably, the government now plans to pay the childcare costs upfront.

In England, eligible households, where all adults are working at least 16 hours, the government will introduce 30 hours of free childcare for every child over 9 months. When previously, there has been no support for parents after their parental leave ended.